It’s not the first time and it surely will not be the last that a politician, or in this case a politician on the campaign trail, using an artist’s song and art without their permission. In a new one, it has been reported that Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, or his camp, has been using Silversun Pickups‘ “Panic Switch” (from their 2009 album Swoon) during his campaign events. Finding about this did not sit well at all with the band as they not only weren’t asked permission to use the song, but they also do not like Romney. In the cease-and-desist order and statement issued by the band, they expand:
Seems as if the GOP is once again whimsically ignoring our great nation’s laws to do whatever it wants to do, and shooting itself in the foot in the process. Without any regard for copyright or intellectual property laws, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has, without permission, begun to use Silversun Pickups‘ 2009 smash “Panic Switch” at campaign stops across the country. Neither the band nor its representatives were contacted to gain permission for the use of the song and the band has no intention of endorsing the Romney campaign. The band’s attorney issued a cease and desist today.
“We don’t like people going behind our backs, using our music without asking, and we don’t like the Romney campaign. We’re nice, approachable people. We won’t bite. Unless you’re Mitt Romney! We were very close to just letting this go because the irony was too good. While he is inadvertently playing a song that describes his whole campaign, we doubt that ‘Panic Switch’ really sends the message he intends.”
Romney’s campaign spokepeople heeded the bands request and said they would not play “Panic Switch” again. But in what seems a backpedal move, they issued a statement to the Huffington Post saying: “The song was inadvertently played during event set-up before Gov. Romney arrived at the location. As anyone who attends Gov. Romney’s events knows, this is not a song we would have played intentionally. That said, it was covered under the campaign’s regular blanket license, but we will not play it again.”
As mentioned, this is not the first time a politican has used a band’s song without their permission. Representative Michelle Bachmann used “American Girl” without Tom Petty‘s OK and resulted in a cease-and-desist as well. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist used the Talking Heads‘ “Road to Nowhere” in an ad campaign attacking Marco Rubio. David Byrne sued Crist for that. And if you’re old enough to remember, Ronald Reagan’s campaign in 1984 used Bruce Springsteen‘s “Born in the U.S.A.” much to the confusion of people and fans due to the song’s lyrical content and themes which had nothing in common with the politician’s agenda or platform. The song was used with the Reagan campaigners thinking it would get an endorsement from Springsteen himself, not knowing that The Boss was a liberal and did not support Reagan at all.
Politics and music sometimes do not mix. This has been great proof of that.