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Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has run afoul of copyright law.
When Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of federal law, was released from jail in September, she emerged to an appropriately defiant soundtrack. Huckabee himself escorted Davis on stage to the tune of “Eye of the Tiger,” the classic 1982 Survivor song that has come to define strength against all odds, while a crowd of supporters pumped fists rock-concert-style.
The only problem: Survivor hated the image. When the band’s members caught wind, they were pissed, and on Wednesday, guitarist and “Eye of the Tiger” co-writer Frankie Sullivan filed a lawsuit against Huckabee in Illinois federal court, accusing him of violating the band’s copyright on the song.
Shortly after the Daily Dot contacted Sullivan about Huckabee and Davis’s use of the song, he condemned the move in a Facebook post, saying that he hadn’t given either of them the right to use the song.
“I would not grant [Davis] the rights to use Charmin [toilet paper],” he wrote.
Sullivan’s lawsuit points out Huckabee’s past copyright violations, noting that he was asked to stop using the Boston song “More Than a Feeling” in 2008 after blasting it during campaign stops.
Survivor sued Newt Gingrich in 2012 for playing “Eye of the Tiger” at several campaign events and at several Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) events.
In the 2012 lawsuit, Sullivan and his company Rude Music argued that Gingrich was “sophisticated and knowledgeable” about copyright laws because he owned more than 40 copyrights on his own work.
Sullivan and his representatives at Artist Nation management did not respond to request for comment.
Mary Emily O'Hara is an LGBTQ reporter. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, NBC Out, Daily Dot, Broadly, Vice, the Daily Beast, the Advocate, Huffington Post, DNAinfo, Al Jazeera, and Portland's Pulitzer Prize-winning newsweekly Willamette Week, among other outlets.