Jay Has A Legal Opinion, Part Deux

You may recall this post, where I talked about how artists got mad when political campaigns used their songs and wondered why the campaigns didn't get permission. Well, there's a new news article about just that here.

Note a couple of things:

1. Once again, it's the McCain campaign ticking people off. This time, it's Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters (and formerly Nirvana), who objects to the McCain campaign's use of their song "My Hero." I went to see the Foo Fighters a couple of months ago and I will tell you, I have never seen a guy who's more of a rock star than Dave Grohl. I don't mean that in a "he's a jerk" way, but in a "he walked out on stage and the crowd went crazy for fifteen minutes before he even played a note" way. It was insane. You do not want to piss off Dave Grohl, man. His adoring fans will kill you.

2. Apparently, the Obama campaign has been asked to stop using a song! Sam Moore objected to their use of his classic "Soul Man."

3. And the campaigns (or McCain's campaign at least) have acquired rights to play songs at the rallies and such through the performing rights organizations, which explains why only Jackson Browne, whose song was used in a McCain commercial, has actually sued.

Still, though...while I'm pleased that McCain's campaign has paid for the performance of the songs (and I hope Obama's has, too), that doesn't quite get us there, does it? Performance rights are great and all, and, technically, may be all they need, but a political rally isn't a jukebox in a bar, you know? It's not the background music at the mall. Songs like "My Hero" or "Born in the U.S.A." or "Soul Man" are chosen and played to make a statement about the candidate. (Note that no one's getting in trouble for "Land of Confusion" by Genesis, for example, or "Final Solution" by Pere Ubu.) And I can see how a musician, who writes a song with a certain message in mind, would get ticked off by someone they disagree with using that song as a sort of implicit endorsement. It does suggest that the musicians at least gave permission for songs to be used, when, in fact, they might not have.

4. Doesn't the McCain campaign listen to lyrics? "My Hero" is a great song, but, umm...here is the chorus:

There goes my hero
watch him as he goes.
There goes my hero;
he's ordinary

I suppose this could be the Common Man thing McCain is going for now, but it sort of conflicts with the whole "war hero" thing, doesn't it? ::shakes head:: I don't know. This is why I'm not a highly paid political consultant.


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