Don Henley Gets Apology from Chuck DeVore

Just days before he lost the California’s June primary in the race for a Senate seat, Chuck DeVore also was handed a resounding defeat in federal court over his use of Don Henley’s music in campaign Web video. He faced a hefty judgment — a figure Henley’s legal team once put at more than $1 million — for video song parodies that the court said infringed on the copyrights to “Boys of Summer” and “All She Wants to Do is Dance.”

On Thursday, Henley and DeVore announced a settlement for an undisclosed amount — as well as an apology to the singer and two songwriters.

DeVore and a campaign aide, Justin Hart, both of whom were defendants in the case, issued this statement:

“We apologize for using the musical works of Don Henley, Mike Campbell and Danny Kortchmar without respect for their rights under copyright law,” they said. “The court’s ruling in this case confirms that political candidates, regardless of affiliation, should seek appropriate license authority before they use copyrighted works.

“Further, we regret all inaccurate, derogatory or disparaging remarks made about Mr. Henley during the course of this dispute.”

Henley said, “My colleagues and I brought this lawsuit to protect our music from being taken and used, without permission, to promote someone else’s agenda. It was not a question of political ideology, but the right of artists to control the use of the works they create, and protect their livelihoods.”

In an interview with the blog Campaigns and Copyrights, Henley said that his pursuit of legal action was not politically motivated, noting that he has objected to Democratic candidates using his music as well.

He told the site, “I’m vehemently opposed to it. Not because I don’t like parodies or
satires of my work. But it’s simply a violation of U.S. copyright law.”

“People in my age group generally don’t like it. Songs are
difficult to write; some of them take years to write. To have them used
as toys or playthings is frustrating.”

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