According to a Chicago songwriter, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is using the 1982 song “Eye of the Tiger” without permission, and he’d like him to stop.
Frankie Sullivan, the guitarist for the group Survivor, which recorded the song, has sued Gingrich in federal court in Chicago alleging copyright infringement.
According to Sullivan’s complaint, Gingrich has been using the song for years, including at campaign stops in Pennsylvania. Voters in the Keystone State—and particularly Philly—may be particularly drawn to the song made famous as the training song of (fictitious) hometown hero Rocky Balboa in Rocky III.
The lawsuit takes particular issue with Gingrich’s extensive knowledge of copyright laws, essentially telling him “you should know better.” CBS Chicago reports that Gingrich is the copyright holder on 40 works, is the CEO of a multimedia production company, and was in Congress when the Copyright Act was “extensively amended.” So much for “innocent infringement.”
Indeed, in general one might think politicians would have learned by now to seek out permission for the songs they use before blaring them from speakers at their events: we’ve been around this block before with John McCain (Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty”), Sarah Palin (Heart’s “Barracuda”), Michele Bachmann (Tom Petty’s “American Girl”), and several others.
Sullivan’s complaint seeks an injunction to stop Gingrich as well as the American Conservative Union from using the song without permission—it also seeks damages, attorney fees, court costs and any profits gained from the defendants’ unauthorized use of the song.
What do you think about politicians using songs without the copyright holder’s permission?