Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Rush: Not so fast, Rand Paul

In Web ads and at campaign appearances, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul sometimes has called on the music of the band Rush to give his message a little pop.

It turns out the campaign wasn't using the music with the band's permission, according to Rush's attorney, Robert Farmer.

Farmer, general counsel for the Anthem Entertainment Group Inc. in Toronto, which is Rush's record label, has sent a letter to Paul campaign officials informing them that they have violated copyright laws -- and urging them to stop."This is not a political issue -- this is a copyright issue," Farmer said in an interview. "We would do this no matter who it is."

Besides, all three members of Rush -- Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart -- are Canadians, not Americans, he pointed out.[...]

Jesse Benton, Paul's campaign manager, said in an e-mail: "The background music Dr. Paul has played at events is a non-issue. The issues that matter in this campaign are cutting out-of-control deficits, repealing Obama Care and opposing cap and trade."

He did not say if the campaign would stop using the band's music.

Farmer said his next legal step depends on the formal response he gets from the Paul campaign. Defendants in civil suits over copyright infringement can be subject to damages and fines.[...]

"The public performance of Rush's music is not licensed for political purposes: any public venue which allows such use is in breach of its public performance license and also liable for copyright infringement," Farmer said in his letter to the campaign.[...]

At a minimum, the law requires those who want to use copyrighted music to obtain permission from the artist, the songwriter, the record company and the music publisher.

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