The McCain-Palin campaign told Politico that in 2007 it purchased both ASCAP and BMI licenses that cover the use of tunes for all public events. Campaign spokesman Ben Porritt said, “Our campaign respects copyrights and obtains licenses whenever the law requires, and any suggestion otherwise is flat wrong.”
Though an ASCAP or BMI license is usually all it takes out on the campaign trail, if artists are really mad and feel the use of their music appeared to be an endorsement by them, the artist can sue under various states’ laws about right of publicity, charging false advertising. Another option would be to sue under the Lanham Act, in relation to trademark law…
One musician who is not upset is Roger Fisher, the Heart guitarist who wrote “Barracuda” along with Ann and Nancy Wilson 31 years ago.
“I don’t like having anger and resentment,” he said. “I would like to see this in a positive light. It’s positive for McCain in that he gets to use a great song. It’s positive for Ann and Nance because it allows them to shine a global spotlight on who it is that they do endorse. And it’s positive for Democrats because I’m going to donate some of the royalties I get from this to the party. It’s a way for me to turn the tables and have the Republicans financing Barack Obama.”