back to article Eagles singer wins case against US politico

Eagles frontman Don Henley has won a lawsuit against a Republican politician who was found to have violated the copyrights of two of the singer’s songs. California politico Chuck DeVore and his employee, Justin Hart, issued an apology to Henley and his fellow bandmates. “We apologise for using the musical works of Don Henley …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    "The internet is slowly but surely killing the whole concept of copyright"

    At least it's doing something useful then, instead of trying to live off something it did 40 years ago.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Because of this story...

      Because of this story, I just started downloading the "Vinyl Replica Box" flac CD's via bit torrent. Thanks for the reminder Henley.

  2. Scarborough Dave

    How long until we have a YouTube music player?

    I often listen to YouTube for muisc than spotify and such.

  3. jake Silver badge

    Killing the concept of copyright? Hey, Don!

    Might want to pick up the phone & call a contemporary ...

    THAT said, any party using the work of another for personal gain (political or otherwise) without permission should be taken behind the barn and given a severe beating.

    1. Grease Monkey

      Scarborough Dave <---------------------------------------------------------------------------> Point

      People post videos on youtube all the time using copyright music as the backing track. Youtube claim that this is in breach of their rules, but they don't seem to do much about it. Now many musicians have made a living from the income paid from the use of their music on TV and in films (I don't think you can include Henley in this group) I know a couple who still get a reasonable income from this. I always find it kind of funny that so many dweebs post really crappy home made videos on youtube (and other sites) using copyright music without permission, but splash copyright notices all over the video. It's the whinge of the internet dweeb these days - "This is MY work. Nobody can use MY work. MINE. Your work? You've no right to keep it to yourself. Copyright is sooooo twentieth century, but keep your hands off MY work."

      I always find musicians to have a lot in common with internet dweebs, but just not to the same extent. "That guitar solo? Well no, I didn't write that, the guitar player put that in. And the bass fills? I didn't write those, the bass player just put them in. But hey, they're just sessions guys and I paid them. I'd MY song. MY lyrics. MY melody. The harmonies oh they're just incidental." Heard an interview with Morrissey a while ago where he was claiming that nobody but him was respsonsible for any of his musical output. Like Johnny Marr's guitar contributed nothing to the Smiths' sound did it? Morrissey and a lot of musicians are not that different from many of the twats posting tenth rate videos on Youtube. They're just as fucking selfish and self deluding.

      Something does need to be done about international licsensing however. Just look at the number of shows broadcast on BBC prime with the original soundtrack removed and some generic synth pap stuck on in it's place because even the BBC can't sought out worlwide licensing for music. People whinging about the fact that some video isn't viewable in their territory? There's a good chance it's not the video content that's the issue. The easiest way to sort this would be to say that if a video's creators have licensed the soundtrack in their home territory then it covers the whole planet.

      Anyhoo. Getting back to my original point I think this is what Henley was talking about, not people using youtube as a music player. Does Don Henley need any more money? No. Does that mean however that some small time songwriter deserves to have his work used without being paid royalties? No. Solution? There isn't an easy one. It's easy to look at the likes of Henley and assume that all musicians are fat cats like him. But they're not. Quite how you protect the little guy while telling the fat cat's they already have enough money, I don't know. But maybe you could start by making Henley pay his settlement from this case to some small songwriters who are having to wait tables to make ends meet.

      Remember Henley is the man that wrote the line "Out on the road today, I saw a deadhead sticker on a Cadillac" and he doesn't see the irony in the way he's behaving today.

  4. John G Imrie


    "I don’t condone it... I’m vehemently opposed to it. Not because I don’t like parodies or satires of my work. But it’s simply a violation of US copyright law."

    but I thought US copyright law allowed parodies.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      IANAL either. I'd get eaten by the sharks.

      AFAIK, you can claim parody as fair use. I guess it depends if it really was a parody or if DeVore just used it as an excuse.

      As for "..this is going to have a very positive effect on the creators of music." I suspect Weird Al might disagree.

      1. Turtle

        Your suspicions are mistaken

        Your suspicions are mistaken, because Weird Al *always* gets consent and approval from the people he parodies. If they are anything other than positive, he does not parody them.

        1. Graham Dawson

          He does, but he isn't required to

          The law in the US allows parody as part of fair use. Weird Al is just being courteous, he has no actual obligation to request permission. The fact that he asks does not if any way negate the fact that his parodies fall under fair use, and that his right to make them would be threatened if fair use provisions were taken away (if consent is granted and then later removed because the parody isn't liked any more, for instance).

          You should not need to ask in order to parody something. That's a very dark path to walk.

          1. David Kelly 2

            Weird Al's Permissions

            Weird Al doesn't have to get permission to parody the words but he uses the music essentially unaltered which does require permission. A section of the music could be used to support the parody without permission but not the entire song.

  5. blackworx

    Not that I disagree with him...

    ...but Henley is clearly a dinosaur. He's speaking as if copyright law in its current form is some sort of natural resource extant since time immemorial, rather than something which, during parts of the 20th century, was beefed up out of all recognition thanks to music biz lobbying.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Statute of Anne

      14 years, extensible to 28? So Desperado should have come out of copyright in about 2002 or something?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Clash of the dinosaurs

      Yeh, Henley is a dinosaur, as is DeVore. I know nothing about DeVore beyond his politics, but as a republican, he qualifies.

      Right wing scum muppet.

      Anon, to avoid being scummed.

  6. Thomas 18

    What a tosser

    Nuff said

  7. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Wow... I can't believe El Reg got this quote...

    "Henley said that the likes of YouTube has too much “clout” in Washington, and added that politicians were not taking online copyright offenses seriously."

    Do ya think?

    Hmmm. Now let me think... What was the name of the company who's Lobbyist is now the White House's CTO? [Hint: Chocolate Factory]

    Hmmm. Which White House Staffer continued to use his Google e-mail account to send and receive e-mails to his former colleagues? [Hint: CTO] * (This was made public by the Washington Post when Google's Buzz was first turned on...)

    This all goes to show you that Washington is just too cozy and doesn't care about individual's privacy or existing copyright laws.

  8. Poor Coco

    In the immortal words of Mojo Nixon...

    He's a tortured artist

    Used to be in the Eagles

    Now he whines

    Like a wounded beagle

    Poet of despair!

    Pumped up with hot air!

    He's serious, pretentious

    And I just don't care

    Don Henley must die!

    Don't let him get back together

    With Glenn Frey!

    Don Henley must die!

    Turn on the TV

    And what did I see?

    This bloated hairy thing

    Winning a Grammy

    Best Rock Vocalist?

    Compared to what?

    But your pseudo-serious

    Crafty Satanic blot

    Don Henley must die!

    Put a sharp stick in his eye!

    Don Henley must die!

    Yea yea yea

    Quit playin' that crap

    You're out of the band

    I'm only kidding

    Can't you tell?

    I love his sensitive music

    Idiot poetry, swell

    You and your kind

    Are killing rock and roll

    It's not because you are O—L—D

    It's cause you ain't got no soul!

    Don't be afraid of fun

    Loosen up your ponytail!

    Be wild, young, free and dumb

    Get your head out of your tail

    Don Henley must die!

    Don't let him get back together

    With Glenn Frey!

    Don Henley must die!

    Put him in the electric chair

    Watch him fry!

    Don Henley must die

    Don Henley must die

    No Eagles reunion

    The same goes for you, Sting!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He should be grateful

    OK, I do agree with him with people using his works for personal gain, but youtube? seriously?

    Does he not understand that platforms such as youtube give him free advertising and might actually encourage people who do not own his music to buy it (or torrent it) when otherwise they would not have? Might also get new fans to your concerts.

    Is it not enough to actually have fans that enjoy your work?

    In my opinion copyright is broken, copyright should only be valid for 10 years or so (although should never be sold by a non-owner) and be made public domain. With the internet that is possible, that way people don't have to keep re-buying the same stuff over and over again on different formats.

  10. Frank Thomas

    Dennis Leary had it right

    I've got two words for don henley.... Joe Walsh.

  11. PhilDin

    What an a$$hat

    I always associated Don Henley with assholery since he sued some other guy called Don Henley who had a website for distributing quotes from the bible among other things (this all happened some time around 1998 some I'm a bit fuzzy on the detail). The bible loving DH made it clear that he was unrelated to the Eagles DH on the home page of his site but the Eagles DH persisted with his lawsuit. I don't recall the outcome of the case but ever since then, I've always subconsiously associated Don Henley with this bit of bullying.

  12. steward

    Congress obviously slipped on this one

    They usually stick in a clause on most laws exempting politicians.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I completely support not allowing politicians to use peoples' music without permission, but the rest of his views are somewhat... curious to say the least.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    “I don’t condone it... I’m vehemently opposed to it. Not because I don’t like parodies or satires of my work. But it’s simply a violation of US copyright law.”

    Maybe he missed the part in copyright law (17 USC § 107 [1]) where it says that "the fair use of a copyrighted work" {....} "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."

    Pretty sure it explicitly says here in US copyright law that parodies and satires are _not_ an infringement of copyright.


    1. Mark 121

      but don't forget

      It still has to be judged fair use.

      If the politician wasn't directly parodying the eagle then it isn't surprising he lost, like in the Dr Seuss case (Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. v. Penguin Books USA, Inc., 109 F.3d 1394 (9th Cir. 1997).) - see the bottom of this page for a useful summary of this and other parody cases:

      However, the eagle shouldn't have won on prinicple - I agree with the Dude when he said "I f*uckin hate the Eagles, though Hotel California was partially redeemed by the Gypsy Kings.

  15. copsewood
    Big Brother

    Rumours of the death of copyright exaggerated

    “The internet is slowly but surely killing the whole concept of copyright,”

    Only 1 aspect of copyright is being obsoleted by the net: the right to control distribution. This doesn't prevent artists through their collection societies getting paid when music is used commercially, e.g. through broadcast, in restaurants and in shops. If the lobbyists employed by these societies and other media concerns started cooperating with the net rather than trying to fight it, they wouldn't be trashing the case for artists to benefit from commercial sales of bandwidth, blank media and playback devices by trying to prevent use of what the content creators help to sell.

    Prior to home taping and the cheap photocopier, informal distribution wasn't affected by copyright law anyway. The attempt to do this is a recent innovation which started with home taping. When copyright law only covered printing presses and few existed, hand copying and memorising work (e.g. of sheet music) was never controlled. You can still copy a book out legally using pen and paper if you have the time and a high proportion of books were legally distributed by informal hand copying outside of copyright a couple of hundred years ago.

    Aspects of copyright unlikely to be challenged are the rights to benefit from commercial exploitation of work and moral rights to be acknowledged as the author of work you have created.

    Big brother icon, because privacy is a human right but copyright isn't. Your copyright doesn't extent to steaming open your neighbour's communications.

  16. Gobhicks

    On Parody

    Yes, parody can be fair use in copyright terms, but that means a parody OF the work in question, as a kind of comment or criticism of the original work and/or its author. I'm pretty sure what went on here was not such a parody but rather a mere adaptation, and that any comment or criticism embodied therein was not directed at the original work itself or DH himself.

  17. Grumpytom

    Browne Out

    I think you're headline refers to a Jackson Browne song. Though The Eagles did do a cover version.

    Hell I'm turning into a pedant.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    You've got to understand Henley's position

    Good dope don't grow on trees.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I dunno

      A well-tended Maryjane stalk can get pretty tall...

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Congressmen for sale

    "“The internet is slowly but surely killing the whole concept of copyright,”"

    And that, my friends. would be wonderful. Maybe Henley would compose something new instead of repackagin 30-year-old hits. Even patents become obsolete in 25 years, why music isn't?

    You know,if I make a sculpture, I get money from and when it's sold, it's sold. No further money for me.

    Why would those so called artists, who make music, be any different?

    Of course the real answer to that is record companies buying Congress, nothing more complicated.

    1. Nigel 11

      Sculpture for sale

      > if I make a sculpture, I get money from and when it's sold, it's sold. No further money for me.

      Not necessarily so. It depends on whether you also sell the unrestricted rights to reproduce it. I don't know the legal defaults for sculpture. I's probably rather complex. For example, I know that when a sculptor makes multiples of a sculpture cast in metal and numbered say 1/25 up to 25/25, it's thereafter illegal even for him to make more from the same original, let alone for anyone else to make copies (=fakes). On the other hand he can sell 1/25 up to 5/25, keep the master, and sell up to 20 more at any later date. If the number of copies is not specified, he can sell any number of copies later. This situation is pretty much the same as a musician selling recordings.

      Personally I think the dividing line is whether one is using another person's work for personal gain. If it's a typical amateur YouTube video distributed for fun, I don't think that a musician whose work is used in the soundtrack should be allowed to complain. Call it free publicity. Perhaps there should be a requirement that the music is in some way incomplete or talked over, so the soundtrack can't be taken by others as a substitute for buying an authorised copy of the music. On the other hand if the video is an advertisement, or otherwise linked to something being sold for profit, then the musician has every right to claim a share of the profit (and also the moral right to refuse to allow his music to be associated with a commercial product that he objects to).

      There are always grey zones. How much has to be the same, before one is plagiarising music rather than creating an original composition? In classical music, a fairly common form of the art is variations on someone else's theme, or a re-arrangement thereof. Thank heaven C21 copyright law was not around when Ravel orchestrated Moussorgsky's "pictures at an exhibition" ....

  20. raving angry loony

    wrong target

    What's killing copyright isn't the Internet, it's companies like Disney that have now successfully lobbied, internationally, for a copyright term that goes up to 100 years, with talk of it increasing in the next 5 or so years.

    The original copyright act of 1710, the Statute of Anne, did away with perpetual copyright. Organizations like the RIAA are bringing it back. THAT'S what is killing copyRIGHT, by turning it into copyDONTEVER.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Not copyright, licensing

      Though the two are very much related it's licensing which affects use, copyright defines who gets to set licensing terms.

      I could hold perpetual copyright if such existed on a work but grant a license for near unrestricted use if I so wished. That's the principle behind MIT and similar licenses.

      The problem arises when we get a copyright holder who won't license, and that can only be changed by altering the law on copyright and durations. Owners who want to exploit works want ever longer copyright, those who want to use the works of others for free want shorter or no copyrights. I don't support the 'freetard' position, but I feel there should be compromise.

      The other problem is who holds copyright. For an individual, life plus N years may not be unreasonable, but companies holding copyright rarely die. It's really a question of where it becomes unreasonable for any entity to retain copyright control further.

  21. Tony Rogers

    Whistle for it

    I thought I would annoy Don Henley by whistling one of his tunes whilst I write this.

    Can't remember the tunes though today...So...........

    I'am whistling "Dixie" !

    Go on Don....whistle "Dixie" for me and put your intelectual copywright

    where the sun don't shine :-)

  22. Flybert

    is it not sufficient ...

    that "Best of The Eagles" has become the most sold album of all time ?

    maybe Henley gets very little from that though, thanks to the record company .. seems he's got to be angry at more than YouTube ..

    or maybe because he was the least cool Eagle .. as Frank Thomas reminds us of Dennis Leary's quote .. "....... Joe Walsh"

    I'm 57 years old .. Eagles sucked IMO .. even brought Joe Walsh down a notch from his great work in James Gang

    But I don't mind anyone's work being protected and respected, regardless of quality, however copyright was envisioned to allow works into the public domain after a "reasonable time" for the good of society .. not when the current generation are all long dead, including the author .. and only to Our Children's Children's Children ( am I gonna be sued by Jefferson Airplane now ?)

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