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Eagles singer wins case against US politico

Desperado Don Henley won't Take It Easy

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Eagles frontman Don Henley has won a lawsuit against a Republican politician who was found to have violated the copyrights of two of the singer’s songs.

California politico Chuck DeVore and his employee, Justin Hart, issued an apology to Henley and his fellow bandmates.

“We apologise for using the musical works of Don Henley, Mike Campbell and Danny Kortchmar without respect for their rights under copyright law. The court’s ruling in this case confirms that political candidates, regardless of affiliation, should seek appropriate licence authority before they use copyrighted works,” said DeVore and Hart.

They were also ordered to pay the men an undisclosed sum as part of the settlement.

DeVore had used what he claimed were “parodies” of Eagles songs in videos, posted on YouTube, for his 2010 US senate campaign without permission.

“This is a moral victory, and a victory for every copyright holder in the United States,” said Henley. He was speaking to Ben Sheffner, an attorney at General Electric’s NBC Universal, who published the comments yesterday on his Copyrights and Campaigns blog.

“We set a precedent that will likely discourage this kind of behaviour [use of copyrighted songs in political campaigns],” Henley opined. "I think this is going to have a very positive effect on the creators of music."

DeVore eventually lost the June primary to ex-HP boss Carly Fiorina.

“When you think you’re right — when you know you’re right — when someone has stolen and misused your intellectual property, you have to do something about it... I could have let this go, but I had to stand up and do something about it,” Henley told Sheffner.

The musician added that he has a big problem with anyone using his songs on sites such as YouTube, which yanked the DeVore videos after it received a DMCA notice to remove them.

“I don’t condone it... I’m vehemently opposed to it. Not because I don’t like parodies or satires of my work. But it’s simply a violation of US copyright law.”

He accused Google’s YouTube of being a “fence” for stolen intellectual property.

“YouTube is one of the biggest violators or copyright laws in the world,” claimed Henley.

“A tremendous amount of the content on YouTube is a copyright violation... I’m not a fan of YouTube at all for their part in aiding and abetting copyright violations.”

Henley said that the likes of YouTube has too much “clout” in Washington, and added that politicians were not taking online copyright offences seriously.

In June Google scored a major victory, after a federal judge dismissed Viacom's $1bn copyright infringement lawsuit accusing the internet giant of turning a blind eye to rampant piracy on its YouTube video site.

“The internet is slowly but surely killing the whole concept of copyright,” Henley grumbled. “I don’t like where it’s going... The internet is a wonderful thing but it also has a very dark side.” ®

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