John McCain’s Lawyers Fight Back Against Jackson Browne’s Copyright Lawsuit
During the presidential election, a television ad ran in Ohio during the month of August in favor of John McCain used a snippet of Jackson Browne’s song “Running on Empty”, and Browne sued John McCain, the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Repubican Party for copyright infringement.
Now, McCain’s lawyers have struck back with legal filing including comments saying that “given the
political, non-commercial, public interest and transformative nature of the use of a long-ago published song, the miniscule amount used and the lack of any effect on the market [his] claims are barred by the fair use doctrine” and further that the “claim is barred as a matter of law because the Lanham Act does not apply to political speech.”
Should the court rule in McCain’s favor, it could establish a precedent which would make it much harder for songwriters to complain if/when political parties use their songs without permission.