Hopefully, you have heard of the musician, Joe Walsh. There is a guy currently running for Congress, also by the name of Joe Walsh. Candidate Walsh has used a song by Musician Walsh without permission for his campaign. In addition, Candidate Walsh also changed some of the lyrics to musician Walsh’s song. These are both no-no’s under copyright law.

When you own a copyright, you are the only one that can do whatever you want with your work. If anyone else wants to use your work, they have to get your permission. If anyone else wants to make changes to your work, they have to get your permission. (Since you may be wondering, there are still the fair use and parody exceptions if they apply.)

Musician Walsh’s attorney has sent a letter to Candidate Walsh. The letter is absolutely true in its statement of law, but written in a manner that is hysterical. My favorite part is where Peter Paterno (Musician Walsh’s attorney) says “Now, I know why you used Joe’s music — it’s undoubtedly because it’s a lot better than any music you or your staff could have written. But that’s the point. Since Joe writes better songs than you do, the Copryright Act rewards him by letting him decide who gets to use the songs he writes.” I applaud you, Mr. Paterno.

Click here to read the article and be sure to click on the link within the article to read the full letter.

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Erin M. Jacobson is is an experienced deal negotiator and a seasoned advisor of intellectual property rights who protects artists, songwriters, music publishers, and other music professionals. Her clients include Grammy and Emmy Award winners, independent artists and companies, and distinguished legacy catalogues, as her knowledge of both classic music and current industry practices places her in a unique position to protect and revitalize older catalogues. She handles all types of music industry agreements, with an emphasis on music publishing. In addition to being named a Super Lawyers Rising Star and one of the Top Women Attorneys in Southern California, Ms. Jacobson is a frequent author and speaker, and has been featured in publications, including Billboard and Forbes. She also is on the Board of Directors for both the California Copyright Conference (CCC) and the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP).