Larry Iser Speaks to Copyright Society

On September 9th Managing Partner Larry Iser participated in a panel for the Los Angeles Copyright Society on music and political campaigns entitled “Red, White and Blues.” Larry famously handled the two ground-breaking cases in this area: the 2008 lawsuit on behalf of Jackson Browne against John McCain, the Ohio Republican Party and the RNC for the unlicensed use of Browne’s iconic song Running on Empty in a campaign video attacking then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, and the 2010 lawsuit on behalf of David Byrne of Talking Heads against Florida Governor Charlie Crist, then running in the Republican primary for United States Senate, for the unlicensed use of Byrne’s famous Road to Nowhere in a campaign attacking Marco Rubio. Both cases were eventually settled, with the RNC pledging to obtain licenses for the use of copyrighted works in future campaigns and Crist recording a video apology to Byrne which, like the offending video, was posted on YouTube. Joining Larry on the panel were Ben Sheffner, Senior Vice President & Associate General Counsel, Copyright & Legal Affairs, at the Motion Picture Association, who represented the McCain campaign in the 2008 case and handled a number of subsequent matters involving the use of music in political campaigns, and Stuart Rosen, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of BMI. The panel was moderated by Jacqueline Charlesworth, a partner at Alter, Kendrick & Baron, LLP, who previously served as General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights of the U.S. Copyright Office. The lively discussion of recent claims brought by Neil Young, Eddie Grant and the Estate of Leonard Cohen was attended on Zoom by over 100 members and guests of the Copyright Society.