The other day we told you about the ban Silversun Pickups who were upset with the Mitt Romney campaign for playing their song “Panic Switch.”
It turns out that the bands lawyers at Myman Greenspan, a top entertainment law firm, were too lazy to even come up with an original cease and desist letter, instead they plagiarized one written for Eagles rocker Joe Walsh. The Hollywood Reporter cites several sections that were lifted, but this one takes the cake.
Romney’s campaign has already responded to the cease-and-desist, citing the fact that the song “was covered under the campaign’s regular blanket license.” That seems like an obvious defense given it’s the same argument being offered by Gingrich in defending the lawsuit by Sullivan. It’s one that any diligent attorney would be prepared to counter.
But in [Tamara] Milagros-Butler’s letter, she doesn’t make this argument. Instead, she says:
“We anticipate that you, or your general counsel, may respond to this letter with a letter of your own using all those neat lawyerly words like ‘First Amendment,’ ‘fair use’ and ‘parody.’ Please know that that none of those buzzwords (or the law they represent) works for you here. In fact, don’t take it from us. Check with your own Republican National Committee. They can confirm this for you. During Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, Mr. McCain used Jackson Browne’s song ‘Running on Empty’ without permission. Jackson Browne sued Senator McCain. As a result, the Ohio Republican Party and the RNC apologized for misusing the song.”
And now compare that to the Walsh letter:
“I’m sure that when you take this letter to a lawyer with a passing knowledge of copyright and trademark law, he’ll give you some good lawyer words to put in a letter back to us — things like ‘First Amendment,’ ‘fair use,’ ‘parody’ and ‘so’s your old man.’…I can promise you that none of those buzzwords (or the law that they represent) works for you here. In fact, if you check with your own Republican National Committee (the “RNC”), they can confirm this for you. You may recall that, during his 2008 campaign, Senator John McCain used Jackson Browne’s song ‘Running on Empty’ without permission. A lawsuit ensued, following which Senator McCain, the Ohio Republican Party and the RNC apologized for misusing the song.”
Clearly the bands lawyers realized the futility of their effort as well, assigning the task to an associate. I guess the got what they paid for…