Jackson Browne has settled with the Republican Party after the GOP used the singer’s “Running On Empty” in campaign television ads for presidential candidate John McCain, Billboard reports. Browne, a staunch Democratic who supported Barack Obama throughout the 2008 election, will receive an undisclosed sum of money and a public apology, but more importantly the settlement came with a pledge that the Republicans will “respect and uphold the rights of artists and to obtain permissions and/or licenses for copyrighted works where appropriate,” Billboard writes. As Rock Daily observed during election season, the GOP used music by the Foo Fighters, Heart, Boston and John Mellencamp without authorization last year, angering each of those left-leaning artists.
After losing the 2008 election, McCain’s lawyers fired back at Browne, citing “fair use” of “Running On Empty,” a song with an “acknowledged cliché” of a title. McCain’s claims were rejected by the courts, paving the way to the settlement with Browne. “I’m really happy that we got this statement from them,” Browne told Billboard.com. “It’s great to have it affirmed that these [copyright and usage] laws stand. I’ve had an idea of how my songs are protected and how money is collected and how making a living as a musician works for my whole career, and it’s great to have it affirmed and to know that we’re absolutely right in standing up to them.”
Under law, the GOP needed a pair of licenses, one from Browne and one from Warner Music Group, before airing the commercials in Pennsylvania and Ohio. In addition to never receiving the licenses, the Republicans never even asked permission to use the songs. According to Billboard.com, the Republican National Committee issued a statement apologizing to Browne following the settlement, adding that McCain had absolutely no hand in the litigious ad.
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