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Newt Gingrich Is Sued for Infringing “Eye of the Tiger” Copyrights

January 30, 2012

2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was on Jan. 30 named as a defendant in a suit charging that he infringed the copyrights in the song “Eye of the Tiger,” the principal theme song for the 1982 Rocky III movie (Rude Music Inc. v. Newt 2012 Inc., N.D. Ill., No. 1:12-cv-00640, filed 1/30/12).

The suit was filed by plaintiff Rude Music Inc., co-owner of the copyright in the Grammy-winning hit song performed by the group Survivor. In its complaint, Rude Music asserts that Gingrich, Newt 2012 Inc., and the American Conservative Union, violated the Copyright Act by using the song in campaign events and materials without permission.

Among other things, the suit charges that:

•The American Conservative Union has posted on the internet video recordings of at least the 2010 and 2011 conferences, featuring Mr. Gingrich and “Eye of the Tiger.” The reproduction and distribution of these recorded performances of the copyrighted composition is unlicensed and unauthorized.
•As his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has ramped up, Mr. Gingrich and Newt 2012, Inc. have caused a recording of “Eye of the Tiger” to be publicly performed at numerous campaign appearances by Mr. Gingrich. For example, in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Mr. Gingrich entered the packed Moose Lodge for a speech as the song “pulsed,” according to the Newt 2012, Inc. website. More recently, during the campaign’s pre-caucus swing through Iowa, the copyrighted song played as Mr. Gingrich made his entrance and exit at an event in Des Moines; heralded his arrival at an event in Burlington, Iowa; and blared as his campaign bus rolled into an excavation business in Walford, Iowa. Newt 2012, Inc.’s and Mr. Gingrich’s use of the copyrighted work is unlicensed and unauthorized.
•Newt 2012’s and Mr. Gingrich’s unauthorized public performance, or inducement of or contribution to the public performance, of the copyrighted work infringes Rude Music’s copyright. Similarly, the American Conservative Union’s reproduction and distribution of the video recordings, featuring Mr. Gingrich and “Eye of the Tiger” is unlicensed and unauthorized, and also infringes Rude Music’s copyright in the composition.

The complaint continues by noting that the infringement in this case is willful, and that enhanced damages are therefore warranted under the Copyright Act.

Rude Music is represented by Marianne C. Holzhall and Annette Michele McGarry of McGarry & McGarry, Chicago.

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