David Byrne Makes Example Out Of Copyright Scofflaw Charlie Crist

Copyright, Intellectual Property April 12th, 2011

, BroadbandBreakfast.com

Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist apologized to musician David Byrne Monday via YouTube for using Byrne’s “Road to Nowhere” tune in an online political ad without asking first, or even paying royalties.

“The advertisement was posted on my web site, on YouTube, and sent out via e-mail,” Crist said, reading from a script. “Regrettably, the campaign did not ask permission to obtain a license from Mr. Byrne to use ‘Road to Nowhere,’ in the advertisement. In fact, Mr. Byrne has never permitted his songs to be used for advertising of any kind, a position I respect deeply.”

“I sincerely apologize to David Byrne for using his famous song and his unique voice in my campaign advertisement without his permission,” Crist said.

The former Republican governor, who lost his 2010 bid for a senate seat against Marco Rubio, said that he respects artists’ rights, and that if he ever ran again, he would make sure that he got a license.

Byrne had sued Crist in May 2010 for $1 million for infringing upon his copyrights.

Crist’s apology was part of a settlement, the terms of which were not disclosed, but the Associated Press quoted Byrne as being happy with the arrangement.

“My hope is that by standing up to this practice maybe it can be made to be a less common option, or better yet an option that is never taken in the future,” Byrne said in a statement sent to the AP.

As YouTube has become an integral part of political campaigning, use of media such as music has also become standard practice in online political advertisements. And several politicians’ campaign teams have run into problems with the law in this regard.

Both John McCain, R-Ariz., who ran for president in 2008, and running mate Sarah Palin were accused of using bits of music without asking permission first.

In McCain’s case, Jackson Browne sued him for using “Running on Empty,” without permission.

The McCain-Palin campaign got socked with a cease-and-desist letter after it used Heart’s ‘Barracuda’ at the 2008 Republican National convention when Palin walked on stage.

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