G.O.P. R.I.P.-off

Photo by Mick Orlosky — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

What is it about Republicans ripping off rock music?

As posed this week in KArts Culture News, the Republicans are at it again, or as their paramount leader used to say, “There you go, again.”

To celebrate the end of their nominating convention, they played Heart’s “Barracuda,” in honor of Sarah Palin’s high school nickname. (What is it about Republicans and nicknames of aggressive death inducing figures?)

The USA’s Republican party is determined to be cool, to be with it, to be hip, so they keep playing rock ‘n roll music for their big events. However, they keep forgetting that many cool rockers can’t stand Republican politics.

Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart didn’t like the connection between their art and Republican philosophy. Earlier this campaign, neither did John Mellencamp, who protested McCain’s use of the hit, “Our Country,” nor did Boston’s Tom Scholz like Huckabee’s use of “More than a Feeling,” nor Jackson Brown that of “Running on Empty” in a McCain commercial.

McCain’s misguided use of the Jackson Brown was not only an example of a bad vetting process (Brown is a very public Obama supporter), but also a clear copyright violation. (What is it about Republicans and the rule of law?)

At the convention, public venues generally have a blanket public performance license with ASCAP/BMI to play recorded music, such as music during breaks in play at sports stadiums. There is also an ephemeral use of exception that covers live televised events, so that the networks are not obligated to pay for the rights to songs as they would in a regular recorded or self-produced television show.

However, the financial and moral coins turn when the songs become theme songs for their campaign. At the very least, you would think they would want to check if that the rockers support their candidate, let alone ask permission? Wouldn’t that be the nice — un-barracuda, non-Darth Vader — thing to do?

For all the Clintons’ moral dilemmas, at least they asked for permission to use “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.”

New campaign slogan? Crime doesn’t pay, but criminals do; Politics does pay, but politicians don’t.

The infringement isn’t on the musician’s rights, but it is on their politics.

Maybe every politico should use the one song guaranteed to get them elected: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

Wonder what the campaign theme songs should be for Putin, Kim Jong II, Robert Mugabe, Nicolas Sarkozy, Gordon Brown, or Hugo Chávez? The ultimate party mix!

- Bill Reichblum

One Response to “G.O.P. R.I.P.-off”

  1. Jim
    September 8th, 2008 12:01

    If they went about asking permission they would have Ted Nugent’s back catalog and that’s about it.

    And nobody, *nobody*, gets elected to “Wango Tango”


    PS Dog Eat Dog, however, is strangely apropos.

Leave a Reply