Eye of Newt, Eye of Tiger: is this Gingrich's Macbeth Moment?

Macbeth's bid for power was thwarted
by ambition, pride and a disregard
for the law.  Is Newt Gingrich about
to follow suit?
The animal kingdom has its musical dimension.  The song of the nightingale, the mysterious music of whales, the mewing of arctic seagulls, even the synchronised barking of dogs, have all been the subject of comment. The world has however heard little of the song of the newt -- till now. In an article for the Telegraph, "US election 2012: Newt Gingrich faces lawsuit for using 'Eye of the Tiger' theme tune", by Amy Willis, the IPKat reads as follows:
"Newt Gingrich, the Republican candidate whose star has been waning in the Florida polls this week, is being sued for his use of the song Eye of the Tiger during political rallies and public events. Court documents were filed in Chicago on Monday by composer Frank Sullivan, a co-writer of the Grammy-award winning anthem, citing copyright infringement. Mr Sullivan registered ownership of the song in 1982. Gingrich has used the tune to whip the campaign crowds into a frenzy as he walks on stage at rallies to address his supporters. ...  The song became a household No 1 in 1982 after the release of the [Rocky III] film, starring Sylvester Stallone.
The law suit, lodged in a federal court by Rude Music Inc, a music company owned by Mr Sullivan, cites copyright infringement by Gingrich as far back as 2009. In addition to Mr Gingrich, the complaint names his campaign, Newt 2012 Inc, and the American Conservative Union, an advocacy organisation, as defendants.

The complaint states that the alleged violation is intentional because Mr Gingrich is "sophisticated and knowledgeable" concerning copyright laws. In the five-page court document, it notes that Mr Gingrich's criticism of the Stop Online Piracy Act during a debate in South Carolina, demonstrated his knowledge of copyright laws [Merpel thinks that some readers of this blog, among others, would suggest that his opposition to SOPA demonstrated how little he knows about copyright -- but that's another matter!]. During the campaign he said: "We have a patent office, we have copyright law. If a company finds it has genuinely been infringed upon, it has the right to sue." 
Rude Music Inc has requested an end to unauthorised use of the song by the Gingrich campaign, and that Rude Music Inc is awarded damages for the infringement. 
A Gingrich campaign spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment".
The IPKat and Merpel will be watching for developments.

More about eyes of newts here
Tiger's eyes here and here
Cat's eyes here
Eye of Newt, Eye of Tiger: is this Gingrich's Macbeth Moment? Eye of Newt, Eye of Tiger: is this Gingrich's Macbeth Moment? Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 Rating: 5


  1. The U.S. site Techdirt isn't so sure, suggesting that the venues are likely to have ASCAP licenses, similar to our own PRS licenses (and the campaign is likely to have bought one, too).

    "If the venue has a license, they can play whatever they want. Full stop."

  2. Thanks, Anonymous.

    I was wondering about a personal/moral rights aspect: if you support party A but your anthem is hijacked by party B, which you bitterly oppose, and friends and acquaintances shun you, it could be painful.


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