Political Use of Copyright Material Comes Under Fire

Republican candidate Newt Gingrich has apparently been using music at public appearances and campaign stops (see video above) without first seeking permission.

On January 30th, 2012, the authors of the iconic pop-anthem that was part of the sequel to Rocky, "Eye of the Tiger," initiated a lawsuit against Mr. Gingrich for copyright infringement (also naming two entities as co-defendants: Newt 2012, Inc. and the American Conservative Union).

This is not the first time, a politician's use of copyright material has come under fire. According to a report in the January 30th, 2012 Hollywood Reporter, NBC has complained to the Mitt Romney campaign about their use of a clip from a 1997 Tom Brokaw newscast (about Newt Gingrich's ethics problems in Congress). The Romney campaign has claimed their unpermissioned use of that NBC News clip falls under the "fair use" provisions of the copyright law.

Here's the Romney ad that has caused concern at NBC news about the potential for confusing viewers (e.g., Is NBC OK with use of their clip in an ad endorsing Romney?):

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