×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Rush (The Band) Orders Rand Paul to Stop

Rush This has been a tough week for Republican candidates who use musicians works in their campaigns. On Tuesday, a U.S. District Court Judge found that Chuck DeVore, the Republican candidate seeking to unseat Barbara Boxer, infringed on Don Henley’s copyright for web parodies of two of his songs, “Boys of Summer” and “All She Wants to Do Is Dance.”

And now the group Rush has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Rand Paul asking him to stop using their songs at campaign events and in a fund-raising video. According to the Louisville Courier Journal, Paul also has used a line from one of Rush’s songs, “The Spirit of Radio,” in his speeches: “Glittering prizes and endless compromises/shatter the illusion of
integrity.”

“This is not a political issue — this is a copyright issue,” Robert Farmer, Rush’s attorney, told the Courier-Journal. “We would do this no matter who it is.”

But it does seem like Republicans get slapped down by musicians far more often than Democrats. Jackson Browne reached a settlement with the Republican National Committee for the use of his music at McCain campaign events, and, more recently, David Byrne sued Charlie Crist for the use of his song “Road to Nowhere.”

DeVore’s use of Henley’s music was more egregious in that the singer asked him to stop, but the candidate went ahead anyway. (My story on the case here). In a tentative ruling granting summary judgment to Henley, U.S. District Judge James Selna rejected DeVore’s contentions that the campaign videos were parodies of Henley and his political stances, which have a greater chance of falling under “fair use” protections. Although DeVore’s riff on “Boys of Summer,” called “The Hope of November,” can be seen as making reference to Henley, it really focuses on President Obama, Selna wrote. And his use of “All She Wants to Do Is Dance” as “All She Wants to Do Is Tax,” he wrote, has nothing to do with Henley at all but is really about Boxer.

Selna did reject Henley’s claim that DeVore’s use of his music falsely implied that he had endorsed his campaign — by most accounts they are at opposite ends of the political spectrum.

The judge also points out in his decision that should the allowance for the use of an artist’s music be so broad as to allow for its use in any parody of a point of view that the musician happens to hold, it could chill speech. In other words, artists would be less likely to speak out for fear that their works will be lifted. But the argument of a “chilling effect” also is used by DeVore’s attorney, Chris Arledge, in that it makes political speech “commercial speech.”

What’s left to be seen is what kind of damages DeVore faces, a stinging prospect should he lose the primary on Tuesday.

Ben Sheffner, who writes the great Copyrights & Campaigns blog and predicted the result, has more here.

Popular on Variety

More Voices

  • Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron.

    Charlize Theron Could Win Second Oscar for Playing Megyn Kelly in 'Bombshell'

    Charlize Theron walked on stage before a screening of “Bombshell” at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center on Sunday night and announced to the crowd, “I’m about to s— myself.” The Oscar winner had good reason to be nervous. The screening of the Jay Roach-directed drama about the fall of Fox News boss Roger Ailes was [...]

  • Tom Hanks Mr Rogers A BEAUTIFUL

    Tom Hanks' Portrayal of Mister Rogers May Put Him Back in Oscar's 'Neighborhood'

    Sony recently hosted a SAG-AFTRA screening of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” the Marielle Heller-directed drama starring Matthew Rhys as a magazine writer who befriends Fred Rogers, played by Tom Hanks. While the screening didn’t include a guild Q&A with cast or the film’s creative team, the audience was greeted with a video message from [...]

  • Joe Pesci, Al Pacino, Martin Scorsese,

    Martin Scorsese and 'The Irishman' Enter Oscar Race With World Premiere at NYFF

    Even with its three-hour run time and a short 28 days in theaters before it’s available on Netflix, Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” is likely to be a major contender at the Oscars. The 57th New York Film Festival opened on Friday night with the world premiere of the epic real-life mob drama. Scorsese and his [...]

  • Brad Pitt Once Upon a Time

    How Much Does Hitting the Awards Season Circuit Really Matter to Stars Like Brad Pitt?

    “Do you want an Oscar?” That’s the first question one top awards consultant asks any potential contender when they first start talking. Everyone is wondering how Brad Pitt would answer that question these days. He recently raised eyebrows and made headlines when he proclaimed that he would not be campaigning this awards season. “Oh, man. I’m [...]

  • Renee Zellweger'Judy' film premiere, Arrivals, Samuel

    'Judy's' L.A. Premiere: Renée Zellweger Takes Another Ruby Step Toward the Oscars

    Renée Zellweger continues to follow the yellow brick road to the Oscars. The Los Angeles premiere of Judy on Thursday night in Beverly Hills kept the Academy Award winner on track for a possible second win come February. “We’re just so happy we’re able to share it with you tonight,” Zellweger said to the crowd [...]

  • Barry Bill Hader

    Emmys 2019: Clear Favorites and Top Challengers for This Year's Winners (Column)

    If this felt like the longest, most expensive Emmy campaign in history, you might be right. For one thing, the 2019 Primetime Emmys will be held Sept. 22, which is the latest the ceremony has taken place since 2013. That also happened to be the last year of TV’s quaint, pre-streaming era, before outlets like [...]

  • Fleabag Succession Emmys

    Could 'Fleabag' and 'Succession' Be Spoilers on Emmy Night? (Column)

    At the onset, this year’s Emmy Awards felt a bit anticlimactic, as the final seasons of “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” appeared to have this year’s drama and comedy categories locked up before campaigning even began. But that’s how upsets happen: Just when we’re pretty confident about how things might go, a couple of wild [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content