Gingrich Campaign Steals From Songwriters

Newt Gingrich’s campaign has repeatedly violated copyright law by improperly using “Eye Of The Tiger” at campaign events, says the song’s co-writer and publisher, who is now suing the campaign:

After months of attempting to deal with Gingrich’s campaign, a Palatine-based music publishing company owned by Survivor lead guitarist Frankie Sullivan has filed suit seeking damages and an injunction to block the Republican contender from using the song at appearances and in campaign videos.

“This has nothing to do with politics. This is a copyright issue,” said Annette McGarry, Sullivan’s lawyer. “We’ve tried to deal with them for months, and they’ve been trying to ignore it.”

Since at least 2009, Gingrich has entered rallies to the pulsing guitar riffs of the song, which was the background track to Rocky’s training montages in the 1982 film “Rocky III.”

Despite complaints from Sullivan, Gingrich still was using the song at events in South Carolina this month, and the song is featured in several campaign videos posted on the Internet, McGarry said. Polls show Gingrich trails rival Mitt Romney by double digits in the Florida primary.

This is so typical of assholes like Newt Gingrich. Is it so hard to ask a songwriter for permission to use their copyrighted material to sell your campaign? Apparently it is. Especially if you’re too cheap to pay to use licensed material. C’mon, Newt: ask Sheldon Adelson to cough up a few thousand more so the songwriters you’re stealing from don’t get ripped off.

Here’s the money quote:

“He likes to walk in like a fighter entering the ring,” she said. “He should have to pay for it.”

That’s exactly right. Gingrich selected this song for marketing reasons, the same way a beer brand picks a classic pop song to burnish its brand’s image. The same way Sarah Palin chose Heart’s “Barracuda” to be her theme song. Music is a cultural touchstone and it’s as crucial for branding a politician as it is a box of detergent. For Newt, “Eye Of The Tiger” evokes images of a fighter, the guy who won’t back down against all odds, the come-from-behind winner. But if Anheuser-Bush has to pay to use a song like that in its advertising, Newt does, too.

But nooo, God forbid he should pay for something when he can just steal use it for free. This is so indicative of how the Gingrich’s of the world operate. Like bullies and thugs, offering nothing but an “Oh yeah? Make me!” to people whose work they’re happy to use but not pay for. And the audacity to do this at campaign events where he spews crap about how poor black kids don’t want work, “unless it’s illegal” — when you’re effectively stealing!

Here’s a thought: roll up your sleeves and go to work, Newtie. Write your own damn theme song, asshole.

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11 Comments

Filed under 2012 presidential election, music and politics, Newt Gingrich, pop culture

11 responses to “Gingrich Campaign Steals From Songwriters

  1. Yeah, SB…The Newt is already al “Legend IN HIS OWN Mind”. And we Dems are so disappointed that he won’t be around to be forced to debate our President…what theatre that debate would provide!

  2. D.

    I’m not sure, from the cursory reading I’ve done, that Newt has ever had a regular job.

    I’ve been saying for a while now that there is a sociological thesis in the fact that conservatives keep trying to appropriate music with progressive messages; this is the first time I’ve seen a purely permission-denied case.

    • Not sure permission was denied here, it was that they never even asked and are using it without paying.

      Anyway, you’re correct, there is a sociological thesis in the co-opting of liberal cultural property by conservatives. I wrote about it two years ago. It’s because they have so little cultural power of their own. I mean, how many candidates can use “Cat Scratch Fever” for their campaign theme? Not sure that sends the message either Newt or Palin had in mind.

  3. Randy

    Perhaps we should produce a “Songs for the GOP” Greatest Hits. I’ve got a suggestion:

    “You load sixteen tons, what do you get
    Another day older and deeper in debt
    Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
    I owe my soul to the company store”

    Merle Travis (Or, in the alternative, George S. Davis)

    P.S. In regard to musics cultural impact. I am not the first to suggest that the OWS Movement will really take off when they get some music.

  4. deep

    “Ken-ya Ken-ya Ken-ya Ken-ya!!!”

    That about sums up Newt’s supporters.

  5. Southern Beale:

    I am surprised that Newt hasn’t “borrowed” Teabaggin’ Ted Nugent’s, “Whang, Dang, Sweet Poontang”. He could totally get Callista to go all hot on him with that song!

  6. GoldnI

    It’s like I always say–conservatives support property rights, except for intellectual property, because it’s intellectual and therefore bad and elitist.

  7. Min

    Speaking of appropriate theme songs, I wonder if ACDC would mind if Newt stole “Highway to Hell”?

  8. Mike G

    Did Flush Limbaugh ever pay The Pretenders? He used a sample from one of their songs as his intro for years, and when specificaly told to stop said he wouldn’t because libruls didn’t deserve any artistic rights. Jerk.

    • Good question. According to Wikipedia:

      The distinctive opening riff from this song has been used as theme music for Rush Limbaugh’s popular American talk radio program since 1984 during his days at KFBK in Sacramento, CA. In 1999, Rolling Stone magazine reported that, according to Hynde’s manager, Limbaugh had neither licensed the song nor asked permission to use it. According to Rolling Stone, Hynde took action after Limbaugh told a pair of reporters in 1997 that “it was icing on the cake that it was [written by] an environmentalist, animal rights wacko and was an anti-conservative song. It is anti-development, anti-capitalist, and here I am going to take a liberal song and make fun of [liberals] at the same time.” This led Hynde to demand that Limbaugh stop using the song, which he did. However, Hynde did an about-face and offered Limbaugh the use of her song in exchange for his donating of $100,000 to PETA.[3] She later wrote to the organization saying, “In light of Rush Limbaugh’s vocal support of PETA’s campaign against the Environmental Protection Agency’s foolish plan to test some 3,000 chemicals on animals, I have decided to allow him to keep my song, ‘My City Was Gone,’ as his signature tune…”.[4]

      As an aside, Sean Hannity has always used Gretchen Peters'”Independence Day” as his theme song but unlike Limbaugh, he does pay licensing fees. And Peters has always said, “Great. That’s more money for me to give to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.” LOL.