There have been several cases in which famous musicians have objected to and often sued political campaigns over unauthorized use of content.
Most notable cases include Bruce Springsteen denying Ronald Reagan the rights to “Born in the USA” for his 1984 re-election campaign and Jackson Browne’s suit against the 2008 John McCain campaign for unauthorized use of “Running on Empty, ” which ended with a settlement and an apology from the then presidential hopeful.
The latest violation involves Donald Trump’s use of the song “Leader of the Pack” by the Shangri-Las. Mary Weiss, the band’s lead singer, responded on Facebook that she does not endorse the real estate billionaire, permission was not authorized for use of the song, and that a letter, presumably a cease and desist order, would be sent to the Trump campaign.
But what exactly are the laws around the usage of music in political conventions and advertisements? In what cases are songs subject to fair use? And why do politicians continue to use music by artists without obtaining proper authorization?
Andrew Stroud, partner with Hanson Bridgett, a law firm based in Sacramento and the Bay Area
Ann Bartow, professor of law and director of the Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property at the University of New Hampshire School of Law