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Don Henley wins tentative ruling in Republican satire suit

From The Hollywood Reporter: Yesterday a U.S. District Court Judge in California issued a tentative ruling in favor of Don Henley, the Eagles member who sued Republican senatorial candidate Chuck DeVore in April for rewriting two of his songs for use in DeVore's election campaign. The songs in question, "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" and "The Boys Of Summer," had been rerecorded by DeVore's campaign as "All She Wants To Do Is Tax" and "The Hope Of November."

Curiously, DeVore's main defense was claiming that the spoofs were meant to ridicule the liberal Henley, not the Democratic Party as a whole—the former being a case of using a copyrighted work as part of a parody poking fun at the original work, which is legal without the permission of the artist, and the latter being a case of using a copyrighted work as part of a piece of satire that pokes fun at something else entirely, which isn't. Being tentative, the ruling is still open to debate, although it's statistically unlikely to be reversed: DeVore's attorney has argued that a final decision in Henley's favor would reclassify political speech as commercial speech that's open to legal inspection, which would have far-reaching First Amendment ramifications for politicians.

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