Thursday, November 20, 2008

Not That Much of a Stretch

I had to chuckle this morning while listening to radio news. I have my radio alarm tuned to a "classic top 40" station. It's nice, sometimes, to wake to a song I've not heard in, literally, decades.

And, once in a while, I manage to catch some snippet of news. I don't watch a whole lot of television and the radio is pretty much my contact with the world at large.

This morning's snippet of note, however, elicited a snickering chuckle; a silent shake of the head as I wonder "Really? Truly? Are you folks really, truly surprised by this?"

Seems Mr. Jackson Browne is suing Senator McCain for the unauthorized use of his song "Running Empty" in a campaign ad.

As an artist and writer, mother of a musician, I am a little overly sensitive to intellectual property rights and copyright issues. However, I also try to get as much information as I can before I damn someone for infringement.

But, we're talking about a U.S. Senator here and a fairly well-known musician. The Senator certainly should have known better -- rather, at least, "his people" should have.

Then I thought, "But -- what if the Senator had won the election? What then? Would Mr. Browne have been *more* inclined to sue, or less?" Hmmmm... There's something to ponder for a little while... Well, I didn't ponder for long, because it's also fairly well-known that Mr. Browne is somewhat liberal. Then the news story provided me with further thought.

(Allow me to interject here that the story first broke in the middle of August, 2008. It's now nearing the end of November. The reason the story has resurfaced is because of the following.)

"McCain seeks to dismiss the charges, citing “fair use” of a song with “an acknowledged cliché” for a title. McCain’s lawyers also say that their use of the song likely increased the popularity of the 30-year-old song than damaged its commercial potential. In a second motion that adds insult to Browne’s injury, McCain’s lawyers are seeking monetary damages, accusing Browne of attempting to “chill” McCain’s free speech." (excerpted from Rolling Stone Online,

The radio story also mentioned something along the lines that because the song was used for a political ad and not an advertisement for a product, it was okay. Because it was for a politician.

Well, huh.

Why not? I mean, after all, we've had eight years of a President who has been known to say, "Yes, I can. I'm the President." Why can't McCain say, "Yes, I can. I WANT to be President." Just ain't that much of a stretch, now, is it?


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