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Much like the political career
April 12, 2011 9:16 PM   Subscribe

David Byrne Takes On The Man. Good ole Charlie [Crist], used Bryne's (Talking Heads) song, Road to Nowhere, during Crist's failed run for Senator of FL in 2010, without permission, without licenses. The lawsuit that was filed was settled this week, which culminated in Crist issuing a YouTube apology. Crist also told the Associated Press that Byrne "couldn't have been more of a gentlemen" when the two met to settle the case.
posted by edgeways (54 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
So was there punitive damage$? If the apology was all that was required, I'm impressed, and David Byrne should get some sort of major fucking prize.
posted by Lukenlogs at 9:22 PM on April 12, 2011


The financial terms of the settlement are confidential.
posted by edgeways at 9:27 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:28 PM on April 12, 2011


"Road to Nowhere" was his campaign theme song? Oh my.
posted by ShutterBun at 9:28 PM on April 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


In the Orlando Sentinel's article about this, they quoted Byrne:
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.
Okay, the newspaper doesn't print the word "balls," I guess. Fair enough. Oh wait.
“I was shocked to discover, while working out our settlement, that the use of songs for political ads is pretty rampant. It turns out I am one of the few artists who has the bucks and cojones to challenge such usage- I'm feeling very manly after my trip to Tampa!"
What.

How odd that the least insane part of this story is David Byrne bragging about his "bucks" and his manly feelings and ending sentences with exclamation points.
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:33 PM on April 12, 2011


Crist also told the Associated Press that Byrne "couldn't have been more of a gentlemen" when the two met to settle the case.

Crist could have been more of a gentleman by not stealing someone else's work for his own political gain.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:35 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Crist, what an apology.
posted by ShutterBun at 9:38 PM on April 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


And you may find yourself running for Senator of Florida
And you may find yourself thinking about a campaign slogan
And you may find yourself behind the clickwheel of a large music library
And you may find yourself in a beautiful law firm, with a beautiful lawsuit
And you may ask yourself, "My God, what have I done?"
posted by George Clooney at 9:43 PM on April 12, 2011 [79 favorites]


Really looking forward to everyone suddenly being all indignant about someone using uncleared music in a YouTube video.
posted by dhammond at 9:47 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually Byrne is a pretty strong advocate for things like creative commons licensing. I hesitate to speak for him, but would imagine he would be pretty ok with his songs being used in Youtube videos, as long as they are not being used in a promotional/for profit fashion.

There is a big gulf between "remixing" culture for artistic/emotional purposes and using it for advertising, everything I've read by him suggests he is firmly ok with the one but not the other.
posted by edgeways at 9:53 PM on April 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


David Byrne, back with the big (law) suit.
posted by mazola at 9:53 PM on April 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Suddenly? Jackson Browne sued John McCain, and won for a song used in 2008; Don Henley won against Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, who had "parodies" of two Henley songs as campaign songs; Republican Rep. Dean Heller used Cy Coleman's "Big Spender" without asking first; and back in 1988, GW Bush used "Don't Worry, Be Happy" without asking McFerrin, to McFerrin's displeasure.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:01 PM on April 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


(My prior comment was a reply to dhammond)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:02 PM on April 12, 2011


I came in here to mention the Browne case and Tom Petty's C&D to George W. Bush over "I Won't Back Down". There are a bunch of cases like this Byrne thing, both those that stop with the band's request or a C&D and a surprising number that make it all the way to court.

The Youtube thing, though, that's a stroke of genius. Mean genius, but genius.
posted by immlass at 10:09 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm kind of sorry that the senator didn't steal a gangster rapper"s song, just because of how those musicians register complaints.
posted by happyroach at 10:18 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


ShutterBun: ""Road to Nowhere" was his campaign theme song? Oh my."

No, I think Crist used it in a video attacking one of his opponents, now-Sen. Marco Rubio.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:35 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a Springsteen fan I'm STILL annoyed at the use of Born in the USA by various Republicans. It's an extreme case but it hurts the singer's 'brand' and his image.
I love the Talking Heads, but I haven't kept up with them lately so if I heard this I might think Byrne was endorsing Crist.
There was a similar case recently in Australia. Can't remember who was involved though.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:43 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stephen Tobolowsky's recent podcast about his experiences with David Byrne are mindbending.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 10:56 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heart v. John McCain & Sarah Palin: Barracuda
Bruce Springsteen v. Ronald Reagan: Born In The U.S.A.

I bet the hardest part of running for office is picking a song you've never heard or don't understand, to use without permission as a campaign slogan. People constantly ask me if I'm going to run for office. Maybe, I tell them. And then I think about my campaign song. Naked Raygun's Only In America is high on the list, along with Bombs Over Baghdad by Outkast. I was also thinking This Year by The Mountain Goats, but that's a little too emo. Elisabetta suggested It's Raining Men, but I think Clooney 2012 needs something like You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC. Like this:

'Cause the halls are shakin'
This country's quakin'
Your wallet's achin'
We are makin' change and you--
Vote Clooney all night long, yeah you
Vote Clooney all night long

Alec fell asleep watching Law & Order again. I know I've got his vote, so maybe I'll wake him up with a few riffs on the Telecaster. He owes me, man.
posted by George Clooney at 11:03 PM on April 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Who pissed on that guy's snowy white hair?
posted by Splunge at 11:04 PM on April 12, 2011


As a Springsteen fan I'm STILL annoyed at the use of Born in the USA by various Republicans. It's an extreme case but it hurts the singer's 'brand' and his image.
I, on the other hand, think it's sort of funny, because it's a case of so epically missing the point of the song.
posted by craichead at 11:06 PM on April 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


>Don Henley won against Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, who had "parodies" of two Henley songs as campaign songs

From article:
The judge said DeVore's case is much weaker for "All She Wants to Do Is Tax," because the lyrics have nothing to do with Henley. [US District Judge] Selna said it more closely resembles satire, as opposed to parody, and the standard for using such material without paying for it is higher for satire than it is for parody.

Fer chrissakes...
posted by 2N2222 at 11:20 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


. . . songs being used in Youtube videos, as long as they are not being used in a promotional/for profit fashion. There is a big gulf between "remixing" culture for artistic/emotional purposes and using it for advertising . . .

Why is it OK for Google/YouTube to make a profit, but not the creator of the remix?
posted by finite at 11:51 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wonder how long it will take until campaign ads and election roadstops get an exemption from copyright laws just like your politicians secured themselves exemptions from protections like the do not call list. pretty much every other politician must have been burned by artists by now, especially republicans, who seem to have problems with being allowed to play anything but ted nugent. how humiliating must it be to be sued by bon jovi of all people?
posted by krautland at 1:47 AM on April 13, 2011


George Clooney: "People constantly ask me if I'm going to run for office. Maybe, I tell them. "

But if you did and you won, everyone would be wondering if somewhere, deep inside the White house, you and Brad Pitt would be plotting some convoluted scheme to save the country.

You of course would be well-dressed, and Pitt would be eating fast food and regretting it.
posted by bwg at 1:56 AM on April 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


I like to think that really is George Clooney. It could be.
posted by empath at 2:25 AM on April 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


David Byrne is mad someone stole his song?

Irony never lets me down. My life in the bush of what the fuck?
posted by spitbull at 2:57 AM on April 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also has anyone yet used "America: Fuck Yeah!" as a campaign song? You know it's coming.
posted by spitbull at 3:00 AM on April 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


spitbull: "David Byrne is mad someone stole his song?

Irony never lets me down. My life in the bush of what the fuck?
"

Seriously? That album uses samples, but I can't even think of an instance where the melody is at all ripped off.
posted by Red Loop at 3:28 AM on April 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


empath: "I like to think that really is George Clooney. It could be."

Well if he is, great, but if not, it's fun to pretend.

Clooney/Pitt in 2012!
posted by bwg at 3:41 AM on April 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there any decent music that Republicans can use in campaigns? Or are they stuck with Toby Keith?
posted by octothorpe at 4:23 AM on April 13, 2011


Is there any decent music that Republicans can use in campaigns? Or are they stuck with Toby Keith?
They can use Velvet Underground (or at least the drums)
posted by Cantdosleepy at 4:27 AM on April 13, 2011




Seriously? That album uses samples, but I can't even think of an instance where the melody is at all ripped off.

Yes, seriously. There's a substantial critical literature on MYitBoG and other productions of its type as the height of colonialist musical appropriation (none dare call it plagiarism).

And that's because, you assert, the difference between sampling and musical plagiarism is "if you can't hear the melody, then no one else created it! We were just sampling indigenous, traditional, third world oral cultures, your honor!" Never mind where that groove, timbre, riff, or lyric in a foreign language came from.

Commercial producers need to license samples they take from copyrighted work by other commercial producers. Much more convenient to raid an archive (or go prospecting) for "traditional" sounds with no associated licensing restrictions. After all, culture wants to be free!
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:39 AM on April 13, 2011


Wasn't it Reagan's re-election campaign that wanted to use Mellencamp's Pink Houses for their theme? Up until John suggested that they actually, y'know, read the lyrics?
posted by Thorzdad at 4:40 AM on April 13, 2011


On Appropriation. -- Marcus Boon

It is these appropriations that have been controversial. Made before the advent of digital sampling, and the attendant licensing, copyright and intellectual property disputes that have come with our new abilities to appropriate and manipulate recordings of others, the clearance of samples that Byrne and Eno sought for My Life in the Bush of Ghosts was apparently a novelty: “no one knew what the hell we were up to”. The disk has faced at least two challenges on the grounds of the inappropriate use of the samples. One for the Qu’ran track, which features recordings of Muslim preachers chanting from the Koran, which Eno and co. decided to leave off the recent reissue, after complaints from the Islamic Council of Great Britain (Enoweb). The other for the original version of “The Jezebel Spirit” which was entitled “Into the Spirit World” and featured a recording of Christian preacher Kathryn Kuhlman, but was blocked by her estate and then replaced by a recording of another preacher.

Otherwise, good to go. Even the title was "borrowed" from a Nigerian author.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:42 AM on April 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


My point being that David Byrne is a little bit of a hypocrite to oppose other people "sampling" his music for purposes he did not intend.

Kind of like the entire history of rock and roll, however.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:44 AM on April 13, 2011


Interesting article, fourcheesemac, thanks. But if I'm reading it correctly, then even at that very early stage in sampling history, Byrne and Eno did at least *attempt* to clear some, if not all, of the samples they used (probably the ones they could identify).
posted by mediareport at 5:55 AM on April 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Crist was not "sampling" Talking Heads to make new music out of it.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 5:58 AM on April 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


Is there any decent music that Republicans can use in campaigns? Or are they stuck with Toby Keith?

Toby Keith is a Democrat.
posted by electroboy at 6:37 AM on April 13, 2011


There's also been a bunch of "This is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful wife husband!" jokes going around about Crist.
posted by electroboy at 6:38 AM on April 13, 2011


What'd be my campaign theme song if I ever ran for office? No contest. It'd be this.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:38 AM on April 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


How odd that the least insane part of this story is David Byrne bragging about his "bucks" and his manly feelings and ending sentences with exclamation points.

I'm not sure why that (or his use of the word "cojones," which is pretty standard slang) is odder or more insane than anything else about David Byrne, but I guess you had to be there. I guess I'll have to watch out in mixed company from now on.
posted by blucevalo at 7:06 AM on April 13, 2011


Kind of like the entire history of rock and roll

Or music in general, or art, or literature...
posted by dave78981 at 7:33 AM on April 13, 2011


electroboy: "Toby Keith is a Democrat."

Didn't see that. Well they still have Ted Nugent.
posted by octothorpe at 7:36 AM on April 13, 2011


I wouldn't have guessed it either, given his propensity for American flag shirts and songs about ass-booting.
posted by electroboy at 7:41 AM on April 13, 2011


Wasn't it Reagan's re-election campaign that wanted to use Mellencamp's Pink Houses for their theme? Up until John suggested that they actually, y'know, read the lyrics?

John McCain (last item at bottom). (Sorry to link to People, but Rolling Stone is horribly archived.) And NOM.

Parody

John Edwards used it too, I think. But I think Mellencamp endorsed him.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:11 AM on April 13, 2011


I was hoping for an apology like Archie's apology to Otto in A Fish Called Wanda, and all I got was some hang-dog downcast puppydog looks.

I think Crist would have been much more persuasive if Kevin Kline was holding him by his ankles over a three story drop.
posted by warbaby at 8:34 AM on April 13, 2011


I wouldn't have guessed it either, given his propensity for American flag shirts and songs about ass-booting.

IDK about American flag shirts, but ass-booting is a totally a non-partisan issue.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:43 AM on April 13, 2011


Shouldn't it be "...made famous by David Byrne and Talking Heads," rather than "...made famous by David Byrne and the Talking Heads?"
posted by ambient2 at 11:03 AM on April 13, 2011


Regarding Republicans using Born in the USA:

I, on the other hand, think it's sort of funny, because it's a case of so epically missing the point of the song.

Exactly. Did anyone who ever used that song at a campaign event listen to the words?
posted by Jim Slade at 1:09 PM on April 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Re Republicans and the song Born In The USA...

You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
'Til you spend half your life just covering up


...is pretty much their vision of the future for the rest of us, as far as I can tell.

As for Charlie Crist, I've lived in the same not-so-big town as him for most of the last 40 years and we're about the same age so it would be kind of odd if I'd never run into him at all. I don't remember what he was running for at the time but he did buy me a beer once and ask me if he cold count on my vote. I told him "No."

Still, as Republicans go, he doesn't suck.
posted by lordrunningclam at 1:44 PM on April 13, 2011


Does it follow that the licensing of a song count as part of what an artist can monetarily contribute to a political campaign, subject to contribution limits? Why/not?

http://www.onlineartrights.org/issues/political-speech/political-speech :
"This area of law is generally not an issue for artists since campaign finance laws are focused on accounting for the money spent on a campaign, and not what private citizens say about the campaign. But, if you create art that is related to a specific candidate or campaign, you should be aware of the ways that campaign finance law may restrict what you say and how you say it."
posted by inkyroom at 8:40 PM on April 13, 2011


What'd be my campaign theme song if I ever ran for office? No contest. It'd be this.

I'd have to go with this.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:54 PM on April 13, 2011


I'd have to go with this.

Jimmy James took mine.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:06 AM on April 14, 2011


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