Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Welcome to my world, Senator McCain

The McCain campaign has a long history of misappropriating other people's music, even occasionally being sued for it. The McCain campaign has been freely misappropriating other people's music for their rallies without the permission of the author. But as long as the venue pays its ASCAP (or other PRO - Performance Rights Organization) fee, there's nothing the author can do about it, because the venue has licensed the music from ASCAP.

But the hitch there is that the music is licensed only for within the venue as part of a performance. Once the music leaves the venue, say, on a videotape of the rally, then the McCain campaign must negotiate a separate publication license with the author of the music before they can do anything with it such as, say, publish it on YouTube. And the McCain campaign isn't doing that (indeed, can't do that with many of the songs they use, because the author will not license them to the McCain campaign). The McCain campaign has gone ahead and published videos containing this music to YouTube and other forums -- where they have promptly received "takedown notices" from the authors of these songs under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act), which mandates that the service provider (e.g. YouTube) remove the video from their site until the McCain campaign responds via certified mail that they have indeed procured the proper licenses.

Note that YouTube is required by law to do this -- law that Senator McCain voted for, BTW. But the McCain campaign is still whining that YouTube shouldn't take down these videos because they're covered by "fair use".

Welcome to my world, John McCain. In my world, the Internet world, bullshit DMCA takedown notices happen all the time. Someone puts up a web page, someone else files a bogus DMCA notice, and the law requires that the ISP takes down the web page immediately -- even if it is immediately obvious just looking at the web page that there is no copyright violation. Since in McCain's case there is a copyright violation, it's even more laughable that Senator McCain is demanding that YouTube violate a law that he himself voted for.

But hey, I forget, in Senator McCain's world, there's two kinds of people. There's the ruling elite -- people like him, with more houses than I have cats and more cars than I have computers -- who don't need to obey the law because, well, because. Then there's the rest of us. Well, welcome to the world the rest of us live in, Senator McCain. Have a nice day!

-- Badtux the Copyright Penguin

Incomplete list of people whose music the McCain campaign has illegally published on YouTube: John Mellencamp. Jackson Browne. Survivor. Foo Fighters. Heart. Bon Jovi.


  1. McCain is not used to playing by the rules. He cannot even loose with dignity.

  2. Rules only apply to people who are not Republican.

    Silly Badtux!

  3. The root of the problem, IMHO, is that McCain does not acknowledge the existence of rules.
    Therefore these imaginary things cannot possible involve him.

  4. Survivor?? And this man is a serious candidate for office?

  5. Hey look. He was just trying to reach a younger audience.


    - Badtux the Evil Penguin

  6. "Younger audience" = people who weren't there when dinosaurs roamed

    Which, according to his running mate, was more recent than you might think.

  7. According to the Great Orange Satan, even Faux News has sent a C&D to McCain, for using copyrighted news footage.

  8. Well. I'm glad you wrote all that before I started putting my covers of other peoples' songs. (It's coming. Slowly. Very slowly.) I'm assuming this means that if I want to post my version of "A Thousand Kisses Deep" on my blog, I have to get Leonard Cohen's permission, even if I'm not going to make one red cent off of it.

    This would likely become more complicated if I were to post it on skippy's blog. He does use his site to earn a few extra bucks...

  9. Yeah, covers are an issue. Gotta make sure Leonard gets his electronic mechanicals if you put one of his songs on your web site. That's why I don't do covers, just originals. Saves a *whole* lot of legal hassles...

    - Badtux the Music Penguin


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