Monday, April 18, 2011

Copyright News: Unfair Use of "Road to Nowhere" in Political Campaign Prompts Settlement/Apology to David Byrne/Talking Heads

Richard Prince is not the only downtown New York artist who has been party to a recent copyright/intellectual property litigation. But unlike Prince - who was on the losing end of a decision (currently under appeal) regarding the fair use of photographs appropriated in his "Canal Zone" paintings - Talking Heads frontman David Byrne favorably settled a lawsuit in which he was the aggrieved party for the unlicensed use of the song "Road to Nowhere" in a political campaign.


As reported in the Orlando Sentinel:

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has settled a lawsuit filed by Talking Heads singer David Byrne after Crist used one of the group's songs without permission in a campaign ad last year, both parties confirmed Monday.

Terms of the settlement were not released, but it included a recorded apology by Crist that was posted on YouTube Monday afternoon. Byrne had sued Crist for $1 million for using the song "Road to Nowhere" in a YouTube video attacking Marco Rubio, one of the governor's opponents in the U.S. Senate race.

Crist said Monday that he was pleased with the terms of the settlement and that Byrne "couldn't have been a better guy" when they met last week to mediate the case...

In a statement Monday, Byrne said he was shocked to discover that the unauthorized use of songs for political ads is "pretty rampant."

"It turns out I am one of the few artists who has the bucks and [guts] to challenge such usage. I'm feeling very manly after my trip to Tampa!" Byrne's statement said. "Other artists may actually have the anger but not want to take the time and risk the legal bills. I am lucky that I can do that. Anyway, 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."

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