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‘Carmen Sandiego’ Singer-Songwriter Issues Cease and Desist Demand to Rand Paul Campaign

Attorneys for Sean Altman are threatening to file a lawsuit against the campaign of Rand Paul over the use of Altman’s “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?” in a campaign ad.

Altman’s attorney, Larry Iser of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert, sent a letter to Paul’s campaign manager, Chip Englander, on Jan. 19, asking the campaign to remove the ad from the campaign’s YouTube and Facebook pages as well as its Twitter account. It also asks the campaign to cease and desist from ever airing the ad again, and to contact Iser to talk about compensating Altman and his Big Sean Music for the use of the work and violations of his right of publicity.

Iser wrote that the campaign had responded to a previous letter in late December by promising to remove the ad, but he said that it still can be accessed.

In the letter, Iser wrote that should the Paul campaign not comply, they would “not hesitate” to file a lawsuit against the campaign and Paul personally. He noted that he also represented Jackson Browne when he filed suit against John McCain’s campaign and the Ohio Republican Party over the unauthorized use of “Running on Empty” in a campaign ad. That led to a settlement, including an undisclosed monetary payment, a public apology and a pledge by the Republican National Committee to license future works. Iser also represented David Byrne in his lawsuit against the campaign of then-Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida over the unauthorized use of his music, which also led to a settlement and apology.

“It is appropriate and consistent with the Constitution and our laws that, going forward, the campaign obtain licenses and permissions for the use of all third party copyrighted materials in the campaign, and that Senator Paul and the campaign recognize their immediate obligation to properly compensate Mr. Altman for the unauthorized use of his works,” Iser wrote.

A representative for Paul’s campaign contends that they already had responded to Altman’s demand.

 

“The Campaign responded, out of courtesy, to Mr. Altman’s request several weeks ago by removing the video from its YouTube account, and the video does not appear on any of the Campaign’s social media pages,” said Doug Stafford, the campaign’s chief strategist. “At this point, it appears that the only reason this lives on is so that Mr. Altman can pursue a political agenda or so his trial lawyers can frivolously chase a windfall.”

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