Monday, September 8, 2008

Stop copying me!

My pal LJ sent me a clipping from her local paper--thanks for thinking of me, hon!
It concerns the songs that the RNC has used in this campaign, and the artists' reactions. I would attribute it to the author, but none is given; I also don't know what paper this is from. So I'll just say that the following is not my writing, and I in no way claim it for my own. Discussion to follow.
Don't Playlist
Republicans' song selections anger many musicians
This campaign season, Republicans have been using songs from artists who wouldn't have given permission if asked, and some who have spoken up to ask that their songs not be used in the future. Here's the No-Thanks-GOP playlist so far.
Van Halen, "Right Now": Their management said the band had no idea McCain was using "Right Now" during his big entrance in Dayton, saying, "Permission was not sought or granted nor would it have been given."
Jackson Browne, "Running On Empty": The singer who endorsed Sen. Barack Obama filed a lawsuit last month against McCain and the Republican National Committee for using his song.
Heart, "Barracuda": Ann and Nancy Wilson condemned the usage, adding that Universal Music Publishing and Sony BMG have sent a cease-and-desist notice to the McCain-Palin campaign.
Orleans, "Still the One": McCain irked the song's co-writer, the group's founding member and current New York congressman, John Hall.
Frankie Valli, "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You": Warner Music Group appears to have demanded that YouTube remove "Obama Love," a montage of press fawning over Obama that had been posted on Sen. John McCain's official YouTube channel.
First of all...Senator McCain has an official YouTube channel?! That's something I never expected to hear!
I'm pretty confused, though. Sheria tells us that if the rights are purchased, the artist has no say in who uses the song. Is this a sort of "respect for the artist" kind of thing? In other words, if the artist says that they do not agree with someone's ideology, and requests that their song not be used by that person or group, does the person reluctantly say, "Okay," and stop it just to avoid any further conflict?
I'm really curious about this, because it seems that I'm not the only one who picked up on the song usage thing, after hearing "Barracuda" at the RNC--it resulted in a small article in a newspaper. Jackson Browne actually filed a lawsuit, and Heart has filed a cease-and-desist. So IS there something different about the right to use songs? Is there an element of artistic discretion? DID the RNC purchase the rights, or just play the song? Van Halen says they had no idea their song was being used, and that permission wasn't sought--do they even have the right to refuse permission? Were the rights really purchased through ASCAP?
I know this may seem like a trivial issue to most folks, but as a music lover, I'm really curious about it. Although I'm sure you couldn't tell! <grin>


rdautumnsage said...

What's even more amusing is  the amount of songs being used by McCain's people , and the artist who don't want to be associated with him. All these artist are noteworthy (either way you say it, it works), and they are NOT supporting McCain....hmmm that says quite a bit. (Hugs)Indigo

frankandmary said...

Oh, I just bet Frankie Valli's people have to track down folks rampant misuse of his songs ALL THE TIME.

With that said ;o, I think at the very least it is very poor form to continue to use a song when the song's owners are having public strokes over it. I fully believe these groups/artists don't support McCain, but I do wonder if some of this is fake contempt; Goal= Free publicity.

chat2missie said...

I find it trivial, yet intresting.  I never thought such a big deal would be made over music, who can use it, who can't.  I feel the same way about downloading music over the internet.  I'm one who believes it should be free. I think a person shouldn't be allowed to change the words of a song, claim the song as theirs, but it is a free world and I think if a presidential candidate wants to use a song, they should be allowed to.  I'm not just saying that cause I like McCain either! LOL
Have a great night.

marainey1 said...

Music can bring alot of pleasure to many but who would think it was important for an election???  I don't remember ever hearing about that one before.
'On Ya' - ma

sybilsybil45 said...

I know nothing about artists rights at all. although I expect there is little one can do in law if you use their song but I also think that if requested not to it would be a very stupid person/party to continue using the song after a request   Love Sybil xx said...

I will say also that I'm always left speechless when someone thinks music should be free.  We don't think that movies or books should be free.  We can't just go pick artwork out of the store and hang it on our wall for free.  I think people get the impression that it should be free because music is ubiquitous in our society.  It's on the radio... free to you.  It's on tv...a bonus and free to you.  It's in the department stores while you shop... free to you.  It's taken for granted.  I don't believe that Mariah Carey owes me her music for free anymore than Stephen King owes me his writings free of charge.  I consider myself lucky that there are artists out there that touch me and inspire me and I am glad to pony up the $15. said...

I'm no lawyer obviously, but being a musician myself, I am interested in this as well, so I did a little research.  It seems that the composer and publisher often share the rights to music.  Artists don't always agree with publishers decisions to grant license.  This is where artists/composers have to be aware of their contract stipulations.  Some artists end up having almost no control over their music because they just sign a contract without reading or understanding the thing.  Most often copyright issues involve someone trying to pass off a song as theirs when it isn't or one artists song will have so many similarities to another that there will be a charge that artist stole it.  
There is a provision for "Creative Control" and the issue of using songs, which is not the same as copyright infringement.  From Rob Carter at as advice to songwriters:

Closely related to creative control is control over the way a song is used.  Carl Perkins was understandably concerned when his rockabilly classic "Honey Don't" wound up in a child rape scene in the movie "Prince of Tides."  Again, recognizing that the publisher needs maximum flexibility, specify the particular kinds of uses that are most likely to offend you and ask that you be given prior written approval of any such use.  Common limitations are X rated films, film or TV scenes involving sex, drugs, or violence, commercials for alcohol, tobacco, and guns and, of course, political commercials.

So, politics and porn are supposed to be off limits!  Hahahahahaha!!!  

wwfbison said...

I find this interesting as well.  I don't ever recall such a fiasco over music though with the parties.  If I was an artist I wouldn't want my music associated with anything.  Look at how many songs have been ruined by commercials or the like.  Every time I hear "Like a Rock" all I think of is Chevy.  Now cutie pie Chris Brown sold out to Wrigley Gum with "Forever", with different I play it and see him dancing with gum in my mind!  There are lots more but you get the point. McCain has a youtube channel...who knew!

markonit said...

... so this is prolly what had Ken look up the subject ... anyway, I think it speaks to the arrogance of the Republicans using the music without permission ... and I can't put into words how I feel regarding this election on an astral level ... it really, really seems vital, and I am trying to diconnect from it ...

queeniemart said...

I'm glad you liked the of these days i am going to put up a youtube video of a commercial that i just howl at.....i cant wait to hear what you think when i do it. If a performer says they want paid for someone else to use their song, then ok. But if they get NO money for their talent, i think that is awful. XO