All he wants to do is win

Musician Don Henley brought suit against local assemblyman because he says the politician is gaining financially by using his songs.

June 29, 2009|By Joseph Serna

Was Don Henley’s persona disparaged, and did Assemblyman and senatorial candidate Chuck DeVore use his parody of two of the singer and Eagles drummer’s songs for commercial purposes?

Those are two central questions in a federal copyright infringement lawsuit Henley filed against DeVore facing Judge James Selna after hearing early arguments on the suit Monday.

In a motion hearing Monday, DeVore’s attorney Christopher Arledge argued Henley’s copyright lawsuit against DeVore for his two politically themed parodies “Boys of Summer” and “All She Wants to do is Dance” should be dismissed.


In the songs that were posted on YouTube before being removed because of the litigation, DeVore used the melodies in Henley’s songs but changed the lyrics to take shots at Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, whom DeVore hopes to unseat as the GOP nominee, and President Obama’s fiscal policies.

“He’s making a political point to the citizens of California, that’s all,” Arledge told Selna.

Charles Barquist, one of Henley’s three attorneys in court Monday, said DeVore was exploiting his client’s fame to his financial and political advantage.

“The defendants here are trying to capitalize on Mr. Henley’s goodwill,” Barquist said.

DeVore’s online marketing manager, Justin Hart, is also named in the suit.

Together the two used Henley’s songs for financial and political gain, proven by the fact that at the conclusion of the spoof on YouTube, a link is provided to contribute money to DeVore’s 2010 Senate campaign, Barquist argued.

“What have we done that’s Mr. Henley’s?” Arledge fought back.

If this was a case of copyright infringement, he said, then their parody would have to directly take away something from Henley’s persona. DeVore or Hart would have to mimic Henley’s voice, look or words, for example, he said. But outside of the melody to a particular song — which many parodies over time have done — it features new content, Arledge argued. He added that without even that basic point, Selna would have to throw the case out.

Selna took their arguments under consideration and is expected to rule on the validity of the lawsuit at a later date.

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