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John McCain apologizes for using Jackson Browne song clip that hardly anyone heard or saw in the first place

July 22, 2009 |  5:24 am
John McCain Outside the CBS studios in New York City

Remember last year during the presidential campaign when the Ohio Republican Party ran a web ad online in support of Sen. John McCain and used a musical clip from Jackson Browne's "Running on Empty"?

We don't either.

Anyway, as often seems to happen in political campaigns, the Republican candidate, who along with 99.999% of Americans never saw the Web ad, got sued for copyright infringement by liberal activist Browne. Because they didn't have a license to use the artistic presentation.

Big-name targets on lawsuits help garner publicity for the suing party who never seem to mind news coverage of the music involved which, who knows, might help sell a few copies of something to somebody.

So again anyway Browne's lawyers sued the Ohio party, and the Republican National Committee and, of course, McCain, no doubt a huge lifelong fan of what's-his-name.

Well, just to wrap up one more loose end from the billion-dollar-plus '08 presidential campaign, we arJackson Brownee delighted to announce here that the aforesaid parties have reached an agreement.

According to legal tradition, the financial terms of the settlement are confidential.

However -- and here's the big news, forget healthcare -- the state party, national party and McCain himself issued a historic statement which will forever protect artistic rights from evil pols. Here it is in full:

We apologize that a portion of the Jackson Browne song 'Running On Empty' was used without permission.

Although Sen. McCain had no knowledge of, or involvement in, the creation or distribution of the Web campaign video, Sen. McCain does not support or condone any actions taken by anyone involved in his 2008 presidential election campaign that were inconsistent with artists' rights or the various legal protections afforded to intellectual property.

The ORP, RNC and Sen. McCain pledge in future election campaigns to respect and uphold the rights of artists and to obtain permissions and/or licenses for copyrighted works where appropriate.

In other words, Browne, an Obama contributor who said he was merely defending artistic rights, got nothing, zippo, nada, de rien, $00.00 out of the 11-month legal tussle. Except for the publicity. Hence, the financial agreement, which is confidential because it's empty. And the offending parties really sincerely apologized.

The people who got the real $$$$$ out of this suit were the lawyers for everybody, who bill by the hour and can now easily make their August BMW payments. Or, heck, even buy a brand new one out of the agreement. And help stimulate that German economy, which isn't running on empty.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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