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Iconic singer/songwriter Jackson Browne filed a lawsuit Thursday against Republican presidential hopeful John McCain and the Republican National Convention for what he calls “copyright infringement.”
Browne’s anger towards McCain and his camp came from their use of his song “Runnin’ on Empty” (without a license) in an attack ad that mocks Democratic candidate Barack Obama. The song is used as a jab against Obama’s disinterest in offshore drilling, showing McCain’s belief that the nation would be “runnin’ on empty” under Democratic leadership.
Browne calls himself a “lifelong liberal” and feels that his music advocates “social and environmental justice,” so his opposition to the use of his song in a Republican advertisement is a given. He feels that the use of his song in this particular context could be taken as a false indication that he endorses McCain and his politics.
“In light of Jackson Browne’s lifelong commitment to Democratic ideals and political candidates, the misappropriation of Jackson Browne’s endorsement is entirely reprehensible, and I have no doubt that a jury will agree,” Browne’s attorney Lawrence Iser said.
Upon learning of Browne’s unhappiness, the ad was pulled from the air. A spokesperson for McCain says that the ad was created by the Ohio Republican party, not McCain’s campaign, but Browne’s lawsuit begs to differ.
Browne is seeking over $75,000 for what he sees as “damage” to his reputation caused by his inclusion in the ad. Other artists against McCain’s use of their music include John Mellencamp and ABBA.