McCain apologizes to Jackson Browne for using really old song
Neither side has much to brag about. Jackson Browne hasn't had a hit since the Jurassic period, and John McCain -- who would be the first to joke that he was born in the Jurassic period -- is in a party that seems to be heading toward mass extinction.
But any publicity is good publicity, and for someone who hasn't had a hit record in decades, today's announcement that Browne has settled a lawsuit with McCain might be the only chance that the singer/songwriter has at being in the news.
The singer, who now advertises that hhe plays at birthday parties and business meetings, didn't like that the Ohio Republican Party played his song "Running on Empty" last year during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Although, in retrospect, it seems like the perfect campaign song for the ill-fated McCain campaign, the use of the song was intended to mock then candidate Obama for the part of his energy plan that advised Americans to conserve gas through proper tire inflation.
So Browne did what seemingly all entertainers (except Lee Greenwood) do when a Republican plays one of their songs: sue. And although McCain and the Republican Party made many attempts to get the lawsuit dismissed, they could not. So they waved the white flag.
"We apologize that a portion of the Jackson Browne song 'Running On Empty' was used without permission," read the statement from the Ohio Republican Party, the RNC, and Senator John McCain.
"Although Senator McCain had no knowledge of, or involvement in, the creation or distribution of the web campaign video, Senator McCain does not support or condone any actions taken by anyone involved in his 2008 presidential election campaign that were inconsistent with artists' rights or the various legal protections afforded to intellectual property. "
Although it is extraordinarily unlikely for a candidate for president to become involved in the selection of a song for an event, Browne seemed convinced enough that McCain had some knowledge of it, stating today that "one would hope that a presidential candidate would not only know the law but respect it. It was a matter of bringing that issue to bear."
Regardless, Browne seemed happy with the end result. "This settlement is really a great affirmation of what I believed my rights to be, and all writers' rights to be," he said.
Browne told Billboard that the settlement should send a message to others who might be thinking of using unauthorized songs.
"I certainly hope that the fact that these issues were raised and that the judgment was in our favor will give people who are intending to (use music without permission) pause and caution," said Browne. "I hope that it will be a cautionary case where people will say, 'We better not. They'll sue you...'