Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 1:39 p.m.
Talking Heads leader David Byrne is still pursueing his lawsuit against Gov. Charlie Crist for using one of his songs in a YouTube campaign ad. He wants $1 million because he believes the ad suggests that he endorsed Crist and did harm to his reputation. Today he explained the situation to Rolling Stone.
"Anyone viewing the ad and hearing me singing would assume that I endorse Crist. There is no way I can now contact all those people and their friends and families and explain that that is not the case," says Byrne.
Listen, we respect the hell out of Byrne as a musician, but $1 million? Really? The most viewed video on Charlie's YouTube page
has only a little over 12,000 views. Most of the videos are lucky if they break 1000 views, so at most we're betting only a few thousand people actually saw the ad (which is now down). More people have actually heard about the lawsuit at this point than saw the ad in the first place. Maybe it wouldn't be so hard to "contact all those people."
Byrne also says there's no chance for a settlement.
"We tried hard to resolve this before filing the lawsuit. Our legal system has the problem that money often dictates whether someone files a lawsuit or not. It's often assumed, rightly, by the powerful, that the little guy won't spend the money to take it to court. I was left with no choice but to file this lawsuit. I'm sure we will continue to explore settlement options."
Crist's campaign is pretty stretched for cash at the moment, running with out the backing of a major party and what not, and Crist himself isn't a rich man. He's never even owned a house (well, of course, he's got that rich wife now...).
Byrne's Talking Heads meanwhile had a string of gold and platinum records. While Byrne hasn't licensed his music for commercials before, he certainly has licensed them for movie soundtracks. Soundtracks from such respectable films as Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, He's Just Not That Into You, Baby Mama, Bi the Way, The Benchwarmers, Sky High, Bewitched, 13 Going on 30, and of course the classic live action adaptation of Inspector Gadget.
We're not exactly buying Byrne's claim that he's "the little guy" who cares so deeply about the way his music is used. We mean He's Just Not That Into You, really?
If Byrne wants to make a point about musician's rights to how there songs are used, that's great, but a milli for a YouTube thing no one saw? The price just strikes us as a little ridiculous.