If you’re hosting a campaign rally, you should definitely not use “Eye of the Tiger” without permission.
Mike Huckabee paid $25,000 to Rude Music —the company owned by Frankie Sullivan, the Survivor guitarist who co-wrote “Eye of the Tiger” — for using the song at a campaign event without permission, according to federal election records.
Half of the amount is listed as a legal settlement for copyright infringement on a May payment, while the other half is listed as an “itemized disbursement,” according to CNN.
Huckabee played a part of the song at a rally he hosted for Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples last year following the Supreme Court ruling that officially declared same-sex marriage legal throughout the United States.
But Huckabee never paid for the rights and Rude Music sued. Huckabee originally tried to claim that the event was a “religious assembly” which would have classified use of the song fair use for a noncommercial purpose.
However, the attorney for Rude Music pointed out Huckabee listed the rally as a campaign expense, and Huckabee was forced to settle.
Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have also run into trouble for using “Eye of the Tiger” in their campaigns. Gingrich was sued in 2012 after he had used the song for years and had to pay an undisclosed amount, while Romney quickly stopped using the song after a warning from Rude Music.
Typically, campaigns can buy blanket rights for millions of songs and can use them at campaign events without being sued for copyright, but “Eye of the Tiger” apparently was not included in those packages. Musicians can sue for other reasons, however, including false endorsement if the use of the musician’s work implies they endorse the candidate.