A lot of people love Rush. The Mars Volta love them. Broken Social Scene love them. Fans are determined to see them inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But more importantly, libertarians love them, especially after the revelation that the seminal album 2112 was based on Ayn Rand’s novella Anthem. (That of course explains the song “Anthem,” too.) So it should be of little surprise that quasi-libertarian Senate candidate Rand Paul would have hit single “Tom Sawyer” playing in a YouTube video supporting the candidate, as well as blasting “The Spirit of Radio” at the candidate’s victory rally in Bowling Green on May 18.
But does Rush love them back? While we can question whether Geddy Lee liked Kevin Drew’s singing, we know for certain that they did not like Rand Paul putting up these songs lackadaisically: The band has filed a cease-and-desist to the Paul campaign and have requested YouTube remove their music from the campaign video in accordance to its copyright policy. YouTube complied with the request, and the video is now silent. Rush’s lawyer, Roger Farmer, wrote in the filing that “The public performance of Rush’s music is not licensed for political purposes: any public venue which allows such use is in breach of its public performance license and also liable for copyright infringement.” Mr. Farmer attempted to distance the political element in the filing later on, saying that “This is not a political issue — this is a copyright issue,” and that “We would do this no matter who it is.”
Campaign manager Jesse Benton is attempting to suppress the situation even further, saying “The background music Dr. Paul has played at events is a non-issue.” However, such subjugation of copyright raises some questions. Rand Paul is clearly attempting to pattern his campaign in the form of his father Ron’s presidential campaign from 2008. The Texas congressman has taken a lonely stand in favor of fair use for consumers and consumer privacy, which is against the RIAA/MPAA’s campaign of IP lockdown that is supported by most of Congress. Does Rand, especially in light of these allegations, follow his father’s ideals in this regard? The campaign has not responded to calls as of press time.
(Special Thanks to Joshua Green of The Atlantic for the headline)