Don Henley Settles Suit Against California Rep. Chuck DeVore

Singer sued politician for unauthorized use of music in Senate campaign

August 5, 2010 2:28 PM ET

Don Henley has settled his copyright infringement lawsuit against California Republican senatorial candidate Chuck DeVore for an undisclosed sum of money and an apology, the singer announced in a statement today. In June, Henley and songwriters Mike Campbell and Danny Kortchmar sued DeVore and his campaign worker Justin Hart for unauthorized use of Henley's "All She Wants to Do Is Dance" and "The Boys of Summer," which Devore used in two campaign videos titled "All She Wants to Do Is Tax" and "Hope of November." The lawsuit marked the first time a rocker took a politician to court over a parody.

In a statement, 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."

DeVore initially argued that his versions were parodies and thus constitutionally protected, but the judge overseeing the case ruled that DeVore did in fact infringe on Henley's copyrights when he released his YouTube campaign videos, which have since been taken down. In his apology, DeVore wrote, "We apologize for using the musical works of Don Henley, Mike Campbell and Danny Kortchmar without respect for their rights under copyright law. 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."

Coincidentally, Henley's Eagles bandmate Joe Walsh is embroiled in a similar case. Earlier this year, Walsh filed a lawsuit against an Illinois Republican congressional candidate also named Joe Walsh for rejiggering Walsh's 1971 James Gang hit "Walk Away" without permission in a campaign video.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »