John McCain sued for copyright infringement by singer Jackson Browne

Chris Rizo Aug. 17, 2008, 8:30am

John McCain

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline)-Singer and songwriter Jackson Browne has filed a lawsuit against Republican presidential hopeful John McCain and the Republican National Committee for using his 1977 hit song "Running on Empty," in a television ad.

The ad criticizes Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama for telling Americans they can increase their gas mileage by keeping their car tires inflated to the proper pressure.

In court papers, Browne's attorney said the TV spot violates copyright law and falsely suggests that he endorses McCain's candidacy.

The Ohio Republican Party is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, which was filed Aug. 14 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

The lawsuit says Browne throughout his career has "closely associated himself with liberal causes and Democratic political candidates" and causes.

"Browne brings this action in order to vindicate an egregious, intentional false association created by agents of the presumptive Republican candidate for President of the United States, Senator John McCain, suggesting that Browne sponsors and endorses McCain, a false association that directly conflicts with the political and social values that Browne has espoused and supported throughout his career," the complaint said.

For its part, the McCain campaign says the spot was created independently by the Ohio Republican Party. They say McCain's name should be dropped from the complaint.

The lawsuit says Browne has sustained damages in excess of $75,000 for each of the four causes of actions listed in the lawsuit. He is seeking a restraining order to prevent the Arizona senator and the GOP from using his music. He is also seeking court costs.

Browne is represented by Lawrence Iser of the Santa Monica, Calif., law firm Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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