According to Billboard, David Byrne is suing Florida Governor Charlie Crist for $1 million—and you may ask yourself, “Why such a big suit?” And the answer would be: Crist used the Talking Heads song “Road To Nowhere” in an ad earlier this year for his senatorial campaign and didn’t bother to so much as ask Byrne’s permission—despite the fact that we went through this exact same thing barely a year ago, when Crist’s pal John McCain “borrowed” Jackson Browne’s “Running On Empty.”
Now the same lawyer who successfully sued McCain—and subsequently got the Republican National Party to pledge that they would start paying closer attention to intellectual property laws—is representing Byrne, who's seeking $1 million in damages based on money he's received for use of his songs in the past. And although the ad in question was quickly pulled from Crist’s website, Byrne is still miffed about it: “In my opinion the damage had already been done by it being out there. People that I knew had seen (the ad), so it had gotten around. [The suit] is not about politics...It's about copyright and about the fact that it does imply that I would have licensed it and endorsed him and whatever he stands for."
Oddly enough, Crist isn’t the only one in the Florida campaign to go pillaging pop music to express himself: Crist used “Road To Nowhere” as an attack ad against his Republican rival, Marcus Rubio, who had his own anti-Crist commercial that made similarly obvious use of Steve Miller’s “Take The Money And Run”—also without permission. Miller, however, is not seeking any financial compensation, saying only that he requests “that Mr. Rubio learn more about publishing law and intellectual property rights. I also ask that in the future he extends me the courtesy of asking permission before using my songs.” In politicians’ defense, if musicians didn’t want them stealing their songs, they should stop asking for it with all those juicy, easily adaptable metaphors.