Composer Unhappy About Medal of Honor Music In McCain Campaign Ad

Composer Unhappy About Medal of Honor Music In McCain Campaign Ad

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An ad for John McCain's presidential campaign is using music taken from Medal of Honor: European Assault, and the track's composer is not too pleased about it.

The background music heard in McCain's Safe campaign ad features a track called "Casualties of War," written by Christopher Lennertz for the World War 2-based FPS. McCain's campaign did nothing illegal by using the music, according to an exclusive GamePolitics report, but Lennertz said he believes the campaign should check with content creators to ensure their views are "in sync." He added that he is in fact supporting Barack Obama's bid for the Presidency.

Lennertz, who said he has received many inquiries about the ad, issued a statement saying, "While I do not control the ownership of this piece, I am extremely disappointed [by] its placement in this commercial. I did not authorize the use and was not made aware of the situation. Regardless of party affiliation or support, I would like to think that someone who believes in the American ideals of business and creativity like Sen. McCain supposedly does, would not want to disgrace or inflict any hardship or ill-will on the artists who create in this country by using their works to promote products and agendas which with they disagree."

"I respect John McCain for his service to this country, both in the military and in Washington, but I do not and have never supported his candidacy nor his agenda for this country," the statement continued. "I am dismayed that my music has been used to promote his platform and even more disappointed that a candidate who claims to be the best voice for American entrepreneurs and business owners in this troubled economy so flagrantly ignored the most basic values and tenets of copyright and intellectual property."

"As an artist, business owner and patriot, I proudly support Senator Barack Obama for the Presidency of the United States of America," he said.

Lennertz's full statement, as well as a copy of the McCain ad in question, can be seen on GamePolitics.

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Hasn't McCain already done this with a Foo Fighters track as well?

fix-the-spade:
Hasn't McCain already done this with a Foo Fighters track as well?

Foo Fighters music in a campaign ad does not a president make.

Anyways, the composer could always complain to McCain. I don't understand why a president would use war music in the background. Why doesn't he dress up as Hitler and molest a puppy onstage while he's at it?

Zombie_King:

Foo Fighters music in a campaign ad does not a president make.

No, but it does show quite a high level of either hypocrisy or stupidity on the part McCain's campaign staff.
The Foos openly support Obama so why go to RCA records and buy permision to use their song? The band will only get mad about it.

My guess for this song is he's either playing to patriotism or reminding people of his military service.

This is just like the Springsteen, Reagan thing back in the 80's, but at least Reagan asked permission first.

Zombie_King:
I don't understand why a president would use war music in the background.

In his defense, he was talking about war.

I have no idea how his campaign would have come across that particular piece of music or what motivated them to use it, but I think it's a safe bet that McCain himself isn't a big MOH fan. Probably something relatively innocuous, like a staffer who played the game, thought the music had a particularly presidential bombastic quality to it and figured the artist would never notice, much less care.

It's an interesting point about videogame music. It's often assumed (I'm assuming) that music in games doesn't have any artistic merit on its own, and isn't even created by a musician in the strictest sense of the word - that it's instead just a mish-mash of electronic noise tossed together by the game devs who are only looking for something to fill the silence. The idea of videogame music as artistic expression is relatively unknown outside a small group of aficionados, which may have led to the campaign's cavalier attitude toward the composer.

Malygris:

Zombie_King:
I don't understand why a president would use war music in the background.

In his defense, he was talking about war.

I have no idea how his campaign would have come across that particular piece of music or what motivated them to use it, but I think it's a safe bet that McCain himself isn't a big MOH fan. Probably something relatively innocuous, like a staffer who played the game, thought the music had a particularly presidential bombastic quality to it and figured the artist would never notice, much less care.

It's an interesting point about videogame music. It's often assumed (I'm assuming) that music in games doesn't have any artistic merit on its own, and isn't even created by a musician in the strictest sense of the word - that it's instead just a mish-mash of electronic noise tossed together by the game devs who are only looking for something to fill the silence. The idea of videogame music as artistic expression is relatively unknown outside a small group of aficionados, which may have led to the campaign's cavalier attitude toward the composer.

The soundtracks from some games (Grim Fandango, Halo, WoW ect) are really quite awsome as background music imo.

Bummer for the guy who made it, but I don't think anybody important really cares.

It's not illegal, what Mr. McCain did. I'm willing to bet that he didn't personally pick the song though. His campaign manager or even the guy who edited the video probably chose it. As for the guy who made the song, I don't see why should be that upset. I would want my music heard wherever possible. He was talking about war and the music he composed was about war. He should find a high compliment in the fact that people saw war in his music and were willing to use it as part of something as huge as a presidential campaign. I honestly don't see wrong from McCain's perspective, though, he could have at least asked. I'm more disappointed in the composer getting his knickers in a wad like he did.

sammyfreak:

The soundtracks from some games (Grim Fandango, Halo, WoW ect) are really quite awsome as background music imo.

Bummer for the guy who made it, but I don't think anybody important really cares.

Got to agree, music can make or break a game since it adds another level of immersion, and I found myself constantly running back and forth over the trigger area in Molten core for a new piece of music because I thought it was particularly good.

@sammyfreak : Even back to the C64, the music there was astounding.

I did think the Mccain thing was for chips originally though.

Not sure on the use of game music...I'd be thrilled to hear Plane of Knowledge, Atlas Park or Diablo Harem used; but not so much if it was for Mcdonuts or something equally corporate scumbag.

I'm 100% behind Obama as well, but it's his own fault that McCain got the music. I think it's ludicrous of him to think that McCain would actually make sure that every artist whose music he uses is ok with it.

no, but wats a staff for. There are many ways McCain could have asked for permission, but rather than taking one of the many, he just took hte music. Maybe the idea never occured to him or maybe he thought he did have permission, but again thats his own fault. There is no blame legally, but this is a question of moral, and McCain didnt do well in that here.

Nobody in this debate (and its huge over at GP) has mentioned EA's role in this. If I was Lennertz, I would expect that music to be heard in the context of MOH: trailers, reviews, ads, promotions, events, etc. I know these contracts don't usually enumerate rights, because they are work-for-hire and not licensing agreements, but if EA wants to license a use completely outside of the product it was commissioned for, it should be common courtesy to discuss it with the creator. Is Lennertz going to be more reluctant to work for EA again? How about another game developer?

I don't understand why the music in the games dosen't have more protection (before reading this, I just assumed that it did.) It was work. Someone had to put it together, and it's not something that just anyone can do. So why dosen't the creator get the say-so (or at least a note from the controlling corp) when something like this happens? I know that it's not really a big deal, but it has the potential to be a real pain if the guys that make the music start feeling too abused/neglected/put upon.

Naturally, this comes to light in an election year, when the pandering, whining, bitching and moaning are at an all time high...but still...might be something that bears a serious looking into.

it cost money to license a song, better for game music creators to get paid and not release the name of the song on the game. Its easier than getting a liscense, and costs nothing

Malygris:

McCain's campaign did nothing illegal by using the music

"... Regardless of party affiliation or support, I would like to think that someone who believes in the American ideals of business and creativity like Sen. McCain supposedly does, would not want to disgrace or inflict any hardship or ill-will on the artists who create in this country by using their works to promote products and agendas which with they disagree."

Odd, isn't one of the American ideals of business and creativity, the freedom to express your ideas effectively by creating ads using properly licensed music (even if the author doesn't happen to agree with your ideas)...

If Christopher Lennertz does not want anybody who has different ideas/opinions to use his music, he should not give away his copyright and the rights to control the licensing.

Note that the composer as the original creator still has some legal moral rights which allow him to prevent usage of his work if that usage is considered derogatory treatment.

This sounds to me like a non-issue. McCain acquired some music perfectly legally and the composer is angry because he doesn't like that he wasn't informed when he didn't have to be, oh and he doesn't like the man's cause.

 

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