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August 5, 2010 6:28 PM

MoFo Helps Don Henley, Adversary Take It Easy in Copyright Case

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

After an attempt to parody songs written by Don Henley and his musical cohorts fell flat, California politician Chuck DeVore seems to agree with the former Eagles frontman that he took it to the limit--and beyond.

In a settlement announced Thursday, Henley and DeVore have agreed to end a legal dispute that began last year when DeVore's 2010 U.S. Senate campaign posted two videos that parodied the songs "The Boys of Summer" and "All She Wants to Do Is Dance" on YouTube.

Though terms of the settlement were not disclosed, DeVore and Justin Hart, a campaign staffer named in the suit, apologized to Henley and his fellow plaintiffs, musicians Mike Campbell and Danny Kortchmar, saying that the "ruling in this case confirms that political candidates, regardless of affiliation, should seek appropriate license authority before they use copyrighted works."

The ruling in question was issued in June by Judge James Selna of the U.S. district court in Santa Ana, Calif., who found on summary judgment that the DeVore campaign videos--"The Hope of November" and "All She Wants to Do Is Tax"--did not constitute parody and therefore violated the musicians' copyrights. (Selna did, however, reject the plaintiffs' claim that the videos also constituted false advertisement.)

Morrison & Foerster represented the plaintiffs, with of counsel Jacqueline Charlesworth serving as lead attorney. Other attorneys assisting on the litigation included of counsel Paul Goldstein, and associates Craig Whitney and Cindy Abramson. DeVore and Hart were represented by Christopher Arledge of the Newport Beach, Calif., firm ONE.

Charlesworth says the case should remind politicians of their obligations under copyright law.

"There are a lot of politicians out there who want to take popular songs and use them in their campaigns, and they do that at their peril," she says. "You need a license to use music in your campaign."

In the statement, Henley commented on his motivation in pressing the copyright claim. "It was not a question of political ideology, but the right of artists to control the use of the works they create, and protect their livelihoods."

For the moment, at least, those livelihoods seem safe enough to afford Henley, Campbell, and Kortchmar a peaceful, easy feeling.

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Livin it up at the Hotel California, such a lovely place.

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