Byrne settles with copyright infringing former governor

By | Published on Tuesday 12 April 2011

David Byrne

Charlie Crist, the former governor of Florida – most recently in the music news for posthumously pardoning Jim Morrison over an indecent exposure charge applied to The Doors frontman back in 1969 – has reached an out of court settlement with David Byrne, who sued the politician last year after he used the Talking Heads classic ‘Road To Nowhere’ in a YouTube video attacking a political rival without permission. Doing so counted as an unlicensed sync, of course, which constitutes copyright infringement.

Crist met with Byrne himself to discuss the million dollar lawsuit last week, and reached a settlement, the specific details of which are not known, though it included Crist posting a video online apologising for the infringement.

Commenting on his meeting with Crist, the political dude said the Talking Heads man  “couldn’t have been a better guy”, adding: “As I told him, I was sorry it ever happened at all. He couldn’t have been more of a gentleman about it”. Crist blamed his ad agency for not getting permission to use the song, though I think they blamed him.

Byrne, for his part, noted that an increasing number of American politicians seemed to be using pop songs in online campaign videos without permission, and said he worried many other affected musicians didn’t have the time or money to enforce their rights.

Byrne: “It turns out I am one of the few artists who has the bucks and guts to challenge such usage. I’m feeling very manly after my trip to Tampa! Other artists may actually have the anger but not want to take the time and risk the legal bills. I am lucky that I can do that. Anyway, my hope is that by standing up to this practice maybe it can be made to be a less common option, or better yet an option that is never taken in the future”.