Those darn Republicans!
First the use Jackson Browne's Running on Empty "without permission", then they use a Bon Jovi or Mellencamp song "without permission", and, by golly, they've used Heart's Barracuda for VP candidate Sarah Palin, again, without asking the recording artists permission to do so.
If it were only so easy.
Do you think that a radio station has to ask permission to play a record?
As long as the music publisher and composer's rights organization are paid, anyone can usually use a recorded work for whatever reason. That's why music publishers and organizations such as ASCAP and BMI exist.
The most an artist can do is complain, and if they still own the rights to the song, collect the royalty check. If the offending organization, in this instance the Republicans, are using the song without paying (pirating), then the artist can be outraged.
Certainly, Browne does not want one of his greatest hits (and one of my favorite songs) associated with the McCain Campaign. But a lawsuit? Sort of a waste of money, if you ask me.
A recent AP story states "Despite the Wilson sisters' objections, one of the song's co-writers said he was "thrilled" that the song was used.
In an e-mail to Reuters, the band's former guitarist, Roger Fisher, said it was a win-win situation. Heart gets publicity and royalties, while the Republicans benefit from "the ingenious placement of a kick-ass song," Fisher said.
But in a subsequent email, Fisher said he strongly endorsed the Democratic ticket, and would donate a portion of royalties he receives from the Republicans' airing of "Barracuda" to the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama.
I think this is the best way to handle the situation.
By the way, any song in the Hansen/Plakovic catalog is available to either presidential nominee. For a fee, of course.
We're all about airplay.