Thursday, August 26, 2010

Could 'Cruel Summer' campaign video lead to a cruel copyright lawsuit?

A Republican House candidate from New Hampshire has used over a minute of the 80s hit "Cruel Summer" in a campaign video attacking his Democratic opponent, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter. The video from the campaign of Sean Mahoney -- which identifies itself as a "political parody" -- argues that the economic policies of Shea-Porter and the Obama Administration "have given us a cruel summer."

I have inquiries in to the Mahoney campaign as well as what I believe to be the copyright owners (Sony/ATV for the publishing and London Records for the master), to confirm what I strongly suspect: that the campaign did not get licenses for this use. (I will update this post when and if I hear back.) The self-imposed "parody" label notwithstanding, I think the copyright owners would have a very strong claim if they decided to pursue this. California Senate candidate Chuck DeVore (R) had a much more plausible claim to parody than does Mahoney -- and it was still a loser.

1 comment:

  1. I strongly agree this is classic Satire not parody. The fair use case here is weak at best given the commercial nature and that the target of the advertisement is Joe Biden not the band whose work is used.

    Thanks for covering this.


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