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John McCain Fires Back At Jackson Browne With Legal Documents

November 20, 2008 11:00 AM ET

With his election loss behind him, John McCain has found a new opponent in Jackson Browne. After Browne sued the Republican candidate back in August for using "Running on Empty" without permission in a campaign ad, McCain has fired back in court with a pair of 20-page motions. First, McCain seeks to dismiss the charges, citing "fair use" of a song with "an acknowledged cliché" for a title. McCain's lawyers also say that their use of the song likely increased the popularity of the 30-year-old song than damaged its commercial potential. In a second motion that adds insult to Browne's injury, McCain's lawyers are seeking monetary damages, accusing Browne of attempting to "chill" McCain's free speech. Team McCain is seeking attorney fees and similar costs. While the trial may seem like an afterthought to the election, it could determine the future of music use in political campaigns and whether or not Sarah Palin will be allowed to use "Barracuda" in 2012.

Related Stories:
"Stop Using My Song, Republicans!": A Guide to Disgruntled Rockers
Jackson Browne Sues John McCain Over Campaign Commercial
How Political Campaigns Make Their Music Choices

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Song Stories

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

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