Huckabee sued over campaign song; happens in every election, says Rose Law Group attorney Evan Bolick


Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 6.35.20 AMBy Martha Neil | ABA Journal

The campaign organization for Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is facing a copyright infringement suit over music played at a rally. The event featured both Huckabee and Kim Davis, the controversial Kentucky clerk once jailed for refusing to permit same-sex marriages.

Filed Wednesday in federal court in Illinois, the suit by guitarist Frank Sullivan, a founding member of Survivor, says “Eye of the Tiger,” a song he co-wrote, was performed without authorization at an event celebrating Davis’ release from jail, Reuters reports.


“This situation is one that occurs in every election cycle and even famously between our own Senator John McCain and musician Jackson Browne. It implicates an interesting rights dispute among copyright owners (who may not be the artist), the candidates who want to claim fair use to songs that speak for them, and the artists’ speech rights.

“Typically, campaigns capitulate to artists’ demands by ceasing using the songs or paying settlement damages. Accordingly, there is a relative lack of legal certainty as to who would come out on top in a protracted legal case. But the best lyrical message to send to campaign coordinators everywhere: Make sure you get permission to use so you don’t get accused of intellectual property abuse.

~Evan Bolick, Rose Law Group Attorney

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November 2015