Update: Don Henley settles copyright suit against US politician
In June we commented on US singer Don Henley’s copyright claim against Californian Republican senatorial candidate Chuck DeVore. DeVore used his songs “All She Wants To Do Is Dance” and “The Boys Of Summer” as the basis for campaign commercials titled “All She Wants To Do Is Tax” and “The Hope Of November”.
DeVore had attempted to argue that his use was permissible under the US First Amendment because, the use amounted to political speech protected under the US Constitution, however the US District Court rejected his claim.
Following the court’s decision the parties have reached a settlement where DeVore will pay Henley an undisclosed amount of money. As part of the settlement DeVore and his campaign strategy director issued an apology. They stated that “[w]e apologize for using the musical works of Don Henley, Mike Campbell and Danny Kortchmar without respect for their rights under copyright law. The court’s ruling in this case confirms that political candidates, regardless of affiliation, should seek appropriate license authority before they use copyrighted works. Further, we regret all inaccurate, derogatory or disparaging remarks made about Mr. Henley during the course of this dispute”.
Sadly for Devore, not only did he lose his District Court case, but he also lost his bid for the US Senate. On the bright side, he has learned a good lesson about the importance of copyright.