The copyright owner of the song Eye of the Tiger filed a lawsuit against Newt Gingrich, GOP candidate yesterday. The filing demands Gingrich stop using the song at public appearances.
The lawsuit lists previous appearances and promotional videos where Gingrich has allegedly used the song without permission since 2009.
The filing points out that Gingrich is well aware of copyright laws, given that he owns a production company that sells his written work, documentaries and audio books. Furthermore the filing quotes Gingrich in a debate about online piracy as saying, “If a company finds it has genuinely been infringed upon, it has the right to sue.”
The PR VERDICT : “F” for Newt and his campaign.
For a candidate who is routinely characterized by opposing Republicans as careless, impulsive and unstructured, Gingrich has handed his detractors a gift. The failure to have previously addressed this issue, if true, is an embarrassment.
Best strategy now? Respond to the claim with a short statement claiming that legal advice had confirmed that copyright was not an issue, the song has been used without comment since 2009 and that the timing of the lawsuit is politically motivated. Ideally the statement should have been issued yesterday by Gingrich’s campaign.
If none of the above is viable, then the Gingrich team needs to revise some of its most basic checklists and think about another song. Suggestions welcome.