Rush flushes Rush!

[Video Link] Rush's attorney sent a cease and desist letter to the The Rush Limbaugh Show. From the letter:

According to media reports, Rush Limbaugh, Premiere Radio Networks and The Rush Limbaugh Show have been using Rush’s recorded music as part of what is essentially a political broadcast.

The use of Rush’s music in this way is an infringement of Rush’s copyrights and trademarks. The public performance of Rush’s music is not licensed for political purposes and any such use is in breach of public performance licenses and constitutes copyright infringement. There are civil and criminal remedies for copyright infringement, including statutory damages and fines.
Bob Cesca: Rush Pulls Music from Limbaugh Show


  1. Much as I find the whole copyright issue problematic, this headline is the funniest thing I’ve read tonight.

  2. Watching the offending clip on The Daily Show, I was wondering when Peter Gabriel would weigh in.

  3. Well, I hope they have never allowed a left-leaning politician to use their music, even accidentally, since that would make this claim hard to enforce should limbaugh try to fight it. I doubt he will though.

    1. How can you “allow” someone to use your music “accidentally”?  If you don’t know someone used it, how is that “allowing” them to use it?  I imagine Limbaugh would have to prove intent, if he were going to try to fight it in that way.

      1. There’s a legal principle that says that if you permit notorious infringement for a long time, you lose your rights.

        1. But I didn’t think it had to do with copyrights?  Oh, yeah, donncha-m confirms.  Copyrights and trademarks are not the same thing.

          Again, how can you permit infringement if you don’t know it even exists?

    2.  I’m not sure that part is even relevant.  I think it could be read as “The public performance of Rush’s music is not CURRENTLY licensed for political purposes”
      After all, the statement is about the present time, correct?  I don’t see anywhere they have attempted to state facts about the past usage of it.
      He could (and probably does) license the clips for broadcast, but the contract could stipulate that they are not to be used politically.  Thus the argument would follow that in conducting a 3 day tirade, he ceased being ‘a pundit with partisanship’ and was instead engaging in political speech.

  4. Rush should sue Rush for using Rush’s name. That is, Rush = GREAT BAND!!! Best three-piece band ever (heard it on the radio, but it’s true).

  5. I was making Rush jokes about Rush all day. Now the real Rush is getting up in the other Rush’s business and wow, AWESOME!

  6. Huge Rush fan here, Mark, but did you really have to go that far back? Their new stuff is the best they’ve put out in years.

      1. Amazing how little Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart resemble their younger selves… But Geddy Lee still looks like Geddy Lee.

    1. I had all of their albums & still have the pins I wore in high school, but they had their day in the 1970s to the mid-1980s. Most people only care/know about “2112”, “Permanent Waves” & “Moving Pictures” so I give kudos to Mark for posting “Fly By Night”-era stuff. THAT never gets respect.

      1. I have one of Neil’s broken sticks from a show in Hamilton in…oh, hell… gotta be ’78 or ’79 – the Hemispheres tour. One of my treasures! 

  7. The thing I like about this is the sheer Biblicality of it all:

    A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed–without remedy.

    –Proverbs 29:1

  8. Hmm. Brings up an interesting question – that is, they surely already knew their music was being used, no? (maybe they didn’t) So it seems to be direct backlash from Limbaugh’s arrogant rants the other day, and not solely the fact that his radio show featured their music.

    Seems to me the copyright infringement argument hinges on branding Limbaugh’s rants as “political” and not merely entertainment or some other neutral category – and that the general color of his screeds doesn’t fit with the artists’ thinking. Having a hard time understanding how this is a special case of “copyright infringement” any more than their music being used for any other purposes, but I’m just playing devil’s advocate.

    Oh, and I’ll just put this here :
    Freewill :  (oh, and turn it up)

    1. I agree.  As for your second paragraph and the political point-I tried to take that on in response to corydodt above.  Generally these guys are talking about politics and not necessarily engaging in political speech per se.  However-he is going to have a hard time defending a 3 day attack as something not political.  He probably could–IFF he were to change his tone and call what he was doing harassment and slander instead.

  9. If the band are that pissed off that their music is being used by the blowhard, then they would have a very good excuse for not knowing earlier – they don’t LIKE to listen to the blowhard, so they don’t listen to the blowhard, so they wouldn’t know that their music was being used by the blowhard. 

    1. This is viable. I stopped listening to, or stopped hearing Rush Limbaugh so many years ago I can’t recall, I think it was when he had a TV show, on broadcast television. 

      Since then, whenever that was, I have only heard of him via media outlets reporting on his various gaffes, bad behaviour and criminal charges. 

      Had I heard that he used such fine music, I do not think I would have assumed it was with permission, though I may have assumed that RUSH no longer held the copyright themselves. 

      Good that they heard about it!

  10. I wonder if Crissie Hynde of the “Pretenders” will follow suit, after she got bucks from RUSH for using “My City was Gone” as his bumper music. (back to ohio).
    I’d be rather surprised if she does, as she gets 100k a year–which she says she donates to PETA.

    1. Always hopeful, yet discontent, he knows changes aren’t permanent, but change is.

  11. This seems to be one of the ways to know that someone is a “conservative” in the U.S. these days: when they don’t believe the laws apply to them.

  12. not a rush fan, may be just not a full on rush understander.
    but i got it on that track.

    thanks for not rushing me.

  13. You know Mark this reminds me of the Trees song also by Rush
    but the highpoint of it all is that, by now, Rush Limbaugh is like a fallen tree
    and every body is like grabbing the ax to cut i’m down
    -(the foreman says in the background)-HEY MEN WE HAVE WORK TO DO! 
    sorry ’bout that…

  14. Public performances on radio are licensed at a statutory compulsory rate. You don’t get to opt-out and there is no negotiating who gets to use your stuff for what. I suppose if he plays it in the video version of his radio show, it would require a synchronization right (which is has no compulsory licensing), but for radio, I’m not sure how Rush has any ability to restrict who gets to play their work.

    1. Assuming he actually pays for a license to ASCAP or whatever. And I’d suspect that there are caveats in the licensing agreement that gives artists some control over what their music is associated with.

      1. There is no opt-out of the system. It is *compulsory* and the price is set by the copyright office. As long as Rush pays ASCAP/BMI/etc., he can continue to play Rush.

  15. re: “what is essentially a political broadcast.”

    It’s more “political entertainment”, like the Daily Show, only less funny.

  16. Up front…I know nothing of the legalities in using someone’s music…or whether (the band) Rush was aware of Limbaugh using their music for all this time.
    I do hope that the result is that Limbaugh must stop using their music…as I cannot think of any further divide than the thinking & morals of the three members of Rush versus the opportunistic & hate-filled bloviating of Limbaugh.

  17. I could be wrong, but I seem to remember that the issue has already come up in the past, at least for Mr. Gabriel. Unfortunately I think it has already been determined that he “allowed” it to be used for too long already and thus he has forfeited his right to disallow it. I’m guessing he brought it up again in the hopes that it might “shame” Mr. Limbaugh into discontinuing use of his song of his own volition. Unfortunately that only works if someone is capable of shame.

    As for Rush (the band), I’m guessing the same thing probably applies. That’s assuming I’m remembering correctly, which is probably too much to hope for.

  18. Nothing new here.  Politicians in the US are always using music that they feel is appropriate.  When the singer/band finds out, though, they are often so disgusted by the politician or his/her message, that they get the song pulled.
    Just look at all the idiot politicians that use Springsteen’s ‘Born In The USA’.  Obviously they didn’t listen to the lyrics.

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