Don Henley & Mike Campbell vs. GOP

Eagles founder Don Henley and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell weren’t too pleased with California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore’s version of “The Boys of Summer.” The guys’ thoughts on the matter are pretty clear in the lawsuit filed in federal court April 17.

DeVore, who is running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Barbara Boxer, rewrote the lyrics of “The Boys of Summer” as a version bashing President Barack Obama. DeVore renamed the tune “Hope of November” and campaign worker Justin Hart, who was also named in the lawsuit, performed the song in a YouTube video.

The complaint noted that “DeVore and Hart copied almost all of Henley and Campbell’s copyrighted musical composition note for note” and used a recorded performance of the song as background to their  lyrics.

Henley requested that YouTube remove the “Boys of Summer” video in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the video was taken down from the Web site. After DeVore and Hart asked YouTube that the video be re-posted, YouTube told Henley the video would be re-posted unless Henley pursued legal action against the assemblyman.

Here’s what a spokesperson for Henley & Campbell had to say about the complaint: “Don Henley and Mike Campbell brought this action to protect their song, ‘The Boys of Summer,’ which was taken and used without their permission. Because the infringers have vowed to continue exploiting this and other copyrighted works, as it suits them, to further their own ambitions and agenda, it was necessary to file a lawsuit to stop them.”

After the video was removed from YouTube DeVore wrote a blog post on declaring, “I’ll now be looking for every opportunity to turn any Don Henley work I can into a parody of any left tilting politician who deserves it.” He kept his word by releasing a music video of the 1984 tune “All She Wants To Do Is Dance,” which was recorded by Henley and written by Danny Kortchmar. The title was changed to “All She Wants to Do is Tax!” with lyrics attacking Sen. Boxer.

Henley didn’t find the song amusing and it was also noted in the complaint.

“DeVore and Hart have willfully and intentionally appropriated not just Henley’s exclusive rights, but also his goodwill, identity and persona by using well-known songs associated with him,” according to the complaint.

“Henley and Campbell do not wish to have their creative work used as part of

DeVore’s political campaign, or in videos to promote his campaign. They do not want the public to believe that they might be associated with or endorse the social or political views of DeVore.”

After DeVore received news of the lawsuit, the assemblyman wrote another blog post. He noted that ironically, “All She Wants to Do Is Dance” was originally “written as an attack on President Reagan’s Central American policy, a policy I was soon after to help implement as a Reagan appointee in the Pentagon.”

The assemblyman said that although he has received comments telling him “I hope you get in a car wreck and die,” he believes he hasn’t done anything wrong.