Mon Feb 23, 2009 @ 05:53PM PST
By Eriq Gardner
We've been paying an inordinate amount of attention to a lawsuit brought by singer Jackson Browne against John McCain after the Republican presidential candidate used Browne's "Running on Empty" in a campaign commercial. That's because the case seems like it might influence how future political campaigns use copyrighted music.
Especially now that a California district court has denied McCain's motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Previously, McCain's lawyers went hard after Browne
, alleging that the singer's lawsuit was a misuse of the judicial system in an attempt to trample First Amendment protected speech. On Friday, the District Court allowed the case to go forward
and denied McCain's anti-SLAPP motion.
The judge had to weigh the probability of Browne prevailing on his claim against McCain. He rules that he'll "adopt the more lenient meaning of the term 'probability' such that Plaintiff needs to show a mere possibility of success on his claim" and that the defendant "has not shown that political expression's broad First Amendment protection bars, as a matter of law, all
actions based on allegedly improper use of a person's identity in campaign-related materials."
The McCain campaign released a statement
that seems to hold onto its legal theories. "We intend to seek immediate review of the Court's orders in the Ninth Circuit," said outside counsel Lincoln Bandlow.