Singer Jackson Browne is suing U.S. presidential candidate John McCain for copyright infringement, accusing the presumptive Republican nominee of using the his hit "Running on Empty" in a campaign ad without permission.
On Thursday, Browne filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The suit also names the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Republican Party as defendants and includes a permanent injunction against further use of Browne's music and at least $75,000 in damages.
The campaign ad mocked Democratic rival and Illinois senator Barack Obama for suggesting that the nation conserve gasoline by properly inflating tires, with Browne's famous song, "Running on Empty," providing the soundtrack.
The suit claims the unauthorized use of the song is a copyright violation as well as a breach of the U.S. Lanham Act falsely implying that Browne is both associated with and personally endorses McCain for president.
Brian Rogers, a spokesperson for McCain's campaign, told Reuters news that the Arizona senator was unfairly targeted in the lawsuit because the ad was the work of the Ohio Republican Party."We had nothing to do with the creation or distribution of this ad whatsoever," Rogers told Reuters. "Mr. McCain's name should quite simply be removed from this lawsuit immediately."
Iser said the Republican Party of Ohio, "acted as an agent and in concert with Sen. McCain and the Republican National Committee" adding, "It certainly looks and smells like a McCain campaign piece,"
Though this is not the first incident of a song used without permission by a campaign, this issue is especially heated because Ohio is one of eleven so-called battleground states in the presidential race.
Iser said the ad, the Ohio Republican Party removed from the Internet in response to a cease-and-desist demand from Browne.
Listen Now: Jackon Browne - "I am a Patriot"