Selna [tentatively] ruled that DeVore's case for fair use is stronger for "The Hope of November" because he uses Henley's song to parody what he contends is Henley's support for liberal causes, but it fails because it primarily focuses on criticizing Obama.While the tentative went for Henley on his copyright claim, KTTV's report says Selna sided with DeVore on Henley's Lanham Act claim, which was premised on the allegation that the use of his songs falsely implied that the liberal singer had endorsed the conservative Republican's campaign. (Didn't someone predict exactly this result?)
The judge said DeVore's case is much weaker for "All She Wants to Do Is Tax," because the lyrics have nothing to do with Henley. Selna said it more closely resembles satire, as opposed to parody, and the standard for using such material without paying for it is higher for satire than it is for parody.***DeVore attorney Chris Arledge argued that the judge's ruling, if it stands, would send a chilling effect on free speech by politicians because it would make all political speech "commercial speech."
Again, keep in mind that Judge Selna's ruling is tentative, and he is free to change his mind before issuing a final ruling.
Tentative Summary Judgment Ruling in Henley v. DeVore