Byrne is seeking $1 million in damages from Gov. Charlie Crist, who's also Florida's former Attorney General, and his senatorial campaign for use of the song earlier this year in a website and YouTube ad attacking his then-Republican primary opponent, Marco Rubio. Crist has since changed his campaign and is running as an independent candidate.I'll post the complaint when I get my hands on it. Of note, Byrne's attorney is Larry Iser, who represented Jackson Browne in a similar suit against John McCain, the RNC, and the Ohio Republican Party based on a 2008 ORP web video that incorporated part of Browne's song "Running on Empty."***Byrne tells Billboard.com that he became aware of the Crist ad from a friend in New York, where the Talking Heads co-founder resides. "I was pretty upset by that," says Byrne, who had Warner Bros. Records contact the Crist campaign, which subsequently stopped using the ad. But, Byrne contends, "in my opinion the damage had already been done by it being out there. People that I knew had seen (the ad), so it had gotten around. The suit, he adds, "is not about politics...It's about copyright and about the fact that it does imply that I would have licensed it and endorsed him and whatever he stands for."
It won't surprise me if we see a dozen more lawsuits exactly like this one before November.
Update: Here's the complaint, which includes claims for direct and vicarious copyright infringement and a claim under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, based on the theory that Crist's video falsely implied that Byrne endorsed Crist's Senate campaign.
David Byrne v. Charlie Crist Complaint