Hoping to gain momentum in his 2010 US Senate campaign against incumbent Barbara Boxer, California assembly member Chuck DeVore and his internet strategist Justin Hart have created two YouTube videos which use Don Henley songs. Unfortunately, DeVore’s campaign failed to contact either the Democratic-leaning Henley or his co-writer, Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, raising the possibility of a costly lawsuit.
Originally, DeVore posted two videos to his YouTube channel, which used the Henley songs “Boys of Summer” and “All She Wants to Do is Dance.” In the videos, DeVore pairs new, political parody lyrics with instrumental tracks of the songs in question, while simultaneously displaying images of Barack Obama. Each video then ends with DeVore’s campaign slogan. At Henley’s request, YouTube removed the videos, only to repost them after DeVore challenged the removal, citing the right to free speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment. YouTube, however, did inform Henley that the site would remove the offending videos again if he filed a lawsuit requesting such an action.
On Friday, Henley and Campbell did just that, filing a suit in federal court in Los Angeles in an attempt to remove the videos for good. The suit seeks $150,000 in damages, in addition to complete removal of the video from the Internet. Henley’s representative noted, “The infringers have vowed to continue exploiting this and other copyrighted works, as it suits them, to further their own ambitions and agenda. It was necessary to file a lawsuit to stop them.” In response, DeVore filed a counter suit, again citing his right to free speech and vowing to fight “Mr. Henley’s liberal goon tactics.”
In other legal news, Pink Floyd is suing label EMI and Terra Firma citing a miscalculation of royalty payments. Details are scarce, but commentators are speculating that the suit is most likely the result of routine negotiations of royalty payments that occur every three years. Considering that, aside from the Beatles, Pink Floyd represents the label’s second largest selling catalog, this current disagreement could be potentially costly for the struggling label that, over the past two years, has lost many of its big name artists.