Anyone who has seen the “Rocky” series (or attended a school whose mascot is a tiger) is familiar with Survivor’s catchy tune “Eye of the Tiger.” The song has pumped up movie fans and sports fans for decades. But Survivor’s lead guitarist, Frankie Sullivan, is ready to get into the ring with Newt Gingrich, who has been playing the song at his political rallies for more than two years.
On Monday, Sullivan’s music publishing company, Rude Music Inc., which owns the rights to the 1982 song, sued Gingrich, claiming the Republican politician has no right to use “Eye of the Tiger” as part of his campaign. The suit seeks damages and an injunction to block Gingrich from using the song at appearances and in campaign videos.
“This has nothing to do with politics. This is a copyright issue,” Annette McGarry, Sullivan’s lawyer, told the Chicago Tribune. “We’ve tried to deal with them for months, and they’ve been trying to ignore it.”
Sullivan’s lawsuit is the latest in a string of similar musician-politician fights. Bruce Springsteen fought to keep Ronald Reagan from using “Born in the USA” at his campaign events in the 1980s. More recently, Tom Petty fought to keep Michele Bachmann from playing “American Girl” at her rallies, and Jackson Browne sued John McCain for playing “Running on Empty” in a TV ad.