David Byrne settles with former Governor Crist over copyright claim

May 2011

Artist, music publishing

Charlie Crist, the former governor of Florida has reached an out of court settlement with David Byrne, who sued the politician last year after he used the Talking Heads classic ‘Road To Nowhere’ in a YouTube video attacking a political rival without permission. Crist met with Byrne himself to discuss the million dollar lawsuit last week, and reached a settlement, the specific details of which are not known, though it included Crist posting a video online apologising for the infringement.

Most politicians use music tracks at rallies in the USA but use there is usually covered by so called blanket licences. But once they create advertising online or on TV they need a ‘synchronisation licence’ to use the song – at Crist had none. Commenting on his meeting with Crist, the political dude said the Talking Heads man “couldn’t have been a better guy”, adding: “As I told him, I was sorry it ever happened at all. He couldn’t have been more of a gentleman about it”. Crist blamed his ad agency for not getting permission to use the song. Byrne, for his part, noted that an increasing number of American politicians seemed to be using pop songs in online campaign videos without permission, and said he worried many other affected musicians didn’t have the time or money to enforce their rights.
Byrne: “It turns out I am one of the few artists who has the bucks and guts to challenge such usage” adding “Other artists may actually have the anger but not want to take the time and risk the legal bills.

See http://www.nme.com/news/david-byrne/56069

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