Meanwhile, that guy who wasn't sworn in today...

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Meanwhile, that guy who wasn't sworn in today...

Tue Jan 20, 2009 @ 04:04PM PST

By Eriq Gardner


Today, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. Meanwhile, a legal battle rages on for Obama's defeated foe, John McCain.

No, not for high office. That race is obviously long over. But the dispute between McCain and singer Jackson Browne is not yet running on empty.

Kinsella Weitzman, the Santa Monica firm that represents Browne in a copyright and right of publicity lawsuit against McCain, has shared news about the development of the case on its blog. 

To recap the developments so far, various musicians were not very happy to have their songs associated with McCain and the Republican cause last summer. In August, Browne sued McCain for using "Running on Empty" in a campaign commercial that targeted Obama's energy plan. After the election, McCain's team filed a response requesting a dismissal of the case on fair-use grounds and also filing an anti-SLAPP motion that accuses Browne of trying to chill free speech.

Now Kinsella Weitzman partner Lawrence Iser offers an update: Two weeks ago, Browne's lawyers filed their answer to McCain's attempts to dismiss. These opposition papers aren't too different from the arguments made in the original complaint, but they do focus the court's attention on cases favorable to Browne's cause. It's an interesting question whether rights of publicity trump political speech in this context.

A court hearing has been scheduled on February 2 to discuss the motions.

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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