During the 2008 presidential campaign, the Ohio Republican Party created a web advertisement about gas conservation that used a portion of the Jackson Browne song “Running On Empty.” In response, on August 14, 2008, Browne sued John McCain, the Republican Party, and the Ohio Republican Party for copyright infringement. On Tuesday, July 21, 2009, a settlement was announced.
The settlement includes an apology by John McCain and the Republican Party, a pledge by the Republican Party not to use any musician’s work without permission in the future, and an undisclosed financial settlement.
“Running On Empty” was not the only song that the McCain Campaign used without a copyright holder’s permission before the 2008 Presidential Election. In fact, Rolling Stone released a list in an October 2008 article titled “Stop Using My Song Republicans!”: A Guide To Disgruntled Rockers. The list included John Mellancamp’s “Our Country,” Van Halen’s “Right Now,” Foo Fighter’s “My Hero,” Heart’s “Barracuda,” Orleans’ “Still The One,” and Gretchen Peters’ “Independence Day.” (http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2008/10/10/stop-using-my-song-republicans-a-guide-to-disgruntled-rockers/).
As a side note, to any readers in the Chicagoland area, Jackson Browne will be performing at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL on Thursday, July 30th, 2009.
Image from: http://www.iconocast.com/A0000000022/R7/News2.htm