Medal of Honor Music Used in McCain Campaign Ad, But Composer is an Obama Supporter

If the background music for a recent McCain campaign commercial (see video) seems familiar, there may be a good reason. 

The piece featured is, in fact, from EA’s Medal of Honor: European Assault – undoubtedly the first time music from a videogame has been used in such a manner.

As it happens, though, this has caused the game’s composer no little chagrin.  Christopher Lennertz, an ardent supporter of Barack Obama received many calls and letters regarding the campaign ad.

So how did Lennertz’s music find its way into McCain’s commercial? The composer told GamePolitics:


It turns out that there was a mix-up as to which company controlled the rights to the music. The McCain campaign did nothing illegal. I do think however, that they should have checked to see if the creators of content that they are using to promote their views are in fact in sync with them…

Lennertz also released a statement on the McCain ad:

I have been receiving many emails and calls for the past week regarding the use of my music in a national television ad for John McCain’s presidential campaign. The ad is called "Safe" and prominently features a track entitled "Casualties of War" that I wrote for Medal of Honor: European Assault. While I do not control the ownership of this piece, I am extremely disappointed its placement in this commercial. I did not authorize the use and was not made aware of the situation. Regardless of party affiliation of 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.


As an American, I have the utmost respect and admiration for our troops and all of their sacrifices. In fact, much of the inspiration for my music in this piece came from having a grandfather who served this country honorably as an officer in World War II. 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. 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 tenents of copyright and intellectual property. What, I ask, does such an action or oversight say about Mr. McCain’s regard for the intrinsic value of American products, services, or creations? Where does the line get drawn? Is it reasonable to use my music to sell tobacco, alcohol, or pornographic materials? Is it reasonable to use it to promote a religion in which I do not believe? Is it legal?…yes, perhaps, is it ethical?…I don’t believe so. Is it American?…definitely not by my standards.



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

GP: This special report provided to GamePolitics by: Alex Van Zelfden

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  1. Ricardo Rademacher says:

    "Most people ask permission from people when they use their artistic assets for a bullshit campaign commercial."

    The point here is that the creator is no longer the owner of the artistic asset and thus has zero say in it’s use.    Thus permission was asked and thus this incident has no bearing on McCains integrity, no matter what kind of spin the composer (or you) try to put on it.

    As a person who will vote for Obama, I am still disgusted that people would try to pin this on McCain when this is nothing but Diva Drama.

    Oh, and nice language… really helps bring the point home. 🙁

  2. thefremen says:

    McCain sure as hell doesn’t. Most people ask permission from people when they use their artistic assets for a bullshit campaign commercial. The McCain political machine just does not care to check their shit out, as evidenced by the fact they had to back out last minute from the fundraiser run by a dude who said women should just lay back and take it when they get raeped.

  3. Ray says:

    Seriously, now, McCain’s people are supposed to check with the creator’s political stance to see if there’s an ideaological conflict?

    Ludicrous. Music and images are little components to be bought and sold for making products such as the campaign ad. Should he have asked the creators of the video technology he was using if they supported his candidacy? The manufacturers of the cameras and other equipment? The leaders of the company that broadcast the ad, or their shareholders? What about the people in the ad? Have every one of them been checked for political allegiance?

    Putting aside McCain campaigners’ lack of obligation to expend time, money, and energy to track down the root creators of their content and figure out their position, isn’t it usually considered intrusive – if not downright suspicious – to hunt people down and ask them whether they support a certain candidate? That practice sounds downright idiotic to me, not sensitive and patriotic.

    But I understand the implied "offense" here. This guy is an artist, so he feels some sort of emotional attachment to his work that isn’t diminished by his selling it off. That’s fine. I’d be annoyed too. Of course, then he launches this attack from on high that this reflects upon McCain’s respect for people like him and some of the most basic foundations of our country, turning a blameless and legitimate concern into a dramatic attack upon his rights. Cute.

    You know what else is a basic value and tenet of the American economy? Capitalism. You sell your product, somebody else buys it up and uses it however they want. McCain and his people have a perfect understanding of business and copyright laws. They don’t deserve to take this kind of flak.

  4. thefremen says:

    That’s the weird thing about this Ad is that if this was the 2004 McCain it would make sense but with the ZOMG KILL IRAN and “100 or even 1,000 or 10,000 years in Iraq” McCain this ad is just pure BS.

    Kind of like how he was all for fund raising reform until the only people willing to give him money was select parties willing to give millions or billions.

  5. Ricardo Rademacher says:

    ERRATA: the first article is from the NY Times; the second is from The Escapist.

  6. Ricardo Rademacher says:
    Last month, the voice/body actor behind GTA’s Niko raised a big stink over his "cut" from the game:

    Boo, Hoo the world ain’t fair

    "“Obviously I’m incredibly thankful to Rockstar for the opportunity to be in this game when I was just a nobody, an unknown quantity, […] But it’s tough, when you see Grand Theft Auto IV out there as the biggest thing going right now, when they’re making hundreds of millions of dollars, and we don’t see any of it.”

    And this composer is up in arms over his work for MoH:EA :

    (NY Times article)
    My piece, my rules

    "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. "

    You did not authorize it’s use???
    What a bunch of f’n divas!
    Did they not understand what WORK FOR HIRE means?
    Did they conveniently forget where the IP lies and what that means?
    Do they not get how OUR industry works?

    Some programmer spends 60 hours a week in front of a computer, neglecting family, neglecting health, to get the game going and these, these, DIVAS, come in to their cushy studios and do a few hours of talking and moving a day and then they have the GALL to think they a) they are more important than the rest of the team (example 1) or b) that they should have some say over how others legally use their works after it’s done (example 2).

    Personally, I feel this attitude needs to be squashed and squashed HARD lest our industry become a haven for Divas who think that just because they are the sound of a game, that they are the soul of the game!


  7. Anonymous says:

    If Lennertz feels so strongly about it, perhaps he should compose some campaign music for Obama gratis?

  8. It´s not the first time the music from a videogame has been used in such a manner. Some years ago, a music from Final Fantasy VIII was used in a TV ad from a candidate, here in Brazil.

    I don´t have the video, but I remember… was the music of my favorite game, in background of a terrible person, making a terriblem speech.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Tomorrow, let’s hear about how John McCain’s tailor supports Ron Paul.

    Actually John Mc Cain’s tailor is a member of  the WESTBORO Church.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of facts, you should probably know that McCain’s campaign manager is the biggest lobbyist in the history of Washington. Ever. But the media never talks about this. Obama has never taken money from lobbyists for his campaign.

  11. cheng says:

    "so flagrantly ignored the most basic values and tenents of copyright and intellectual property."

    what part of that don’t you understand? he implied, if not outright claimed, that Mccain did something illegal. To then say he did nothing illegal, completely nullifies his whole argument.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Actually both Mellencamp and Berry’s reps complained strongly to the press, and McCain, out of respect for their wishes, does not use the music any longer. Problem solved. Perhaps as the composer knows quite well he has no legal claims, and he was hoping to accomplish the same kind of result here…

  13. Monte says:

    Tell me, where does he suggests McCain ignored copyright law and broke the law?

    He says straight out, "The McCain campaign did nothing illegal."

    The ONLY thing he is doing is stating his opinion about it. He is not making any kind of law suit; he is not accusing McCain of anything illegal; He is not demanding that the ad be pulled. All he is doing is expressing his disappointment. While everything was done legally and within their rights, on an issue such as this, something that many people feel strongly about, he would have very much appreciated if the McCain camp or the company would have given him a courtesy call asking him how he feels about his creation being used in the ad. Hell, if the McCain did that i would have given some serious respect points for asking the creator first.

    He really is "merely complaining" and nothing more


  14. DarthWoo says:

    I wouldn’t say it’s "undoubtedly the first time music from a videogame has been used in such a manner."  Frank Lautenberg, a democratic candidate for US Senate from New Jersey, was using various pieces of Medal of Honor music during his campaigns for the primary election a couple months ago.

    At the very least, it’s nice to see music from videogames appearing in a sort of mainstream way, regardless of any questions as to its use.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The title for this article should be:

    McCain Haters at Game Politics give John Williams Wannabe a Soap Box

    I hope Game Politics understands this is not news.  EPIC FAIL

    Tomorrow, let’s hear about how John McCain’s tailor supports Ron Paul.

  16. JohnnyBoomslang says:

    Sucks to be him, but he took the short term payout on his music, and sacrificed the long term control.  There is a reason why artists like Coldplay (who have turned down deals with Coca-Cola and The Gap) and U2 retain the rights to their music.  Less royalty on the front end for a bigger payout down the line.   It’s unfortunate that as a video game composer you may have meet those agreements to get any work, but if that’s the way the business works, you should complain about that, not about something that you signed away in a contract.

    My recommendation?  Get a better lawyer/manager.   Even if he signs away his rights to the music, he might be able to work in a clause that specifically restricts against the future use of his music to support a political platform.  I wish this guy luck in his future dealings, but can’t stand behind much of anything in his blog.




  17. Anonymous says:

    I think the difference is that John Mellencamp and Chuck Berry aren’t standing up there and saying that McCain is "fragrantly ignoring the tenents of copyright and intellectual property rights" and that it further puts into question, McCain’s values on American products, services, and creation.


  18. BlackIce, Dragunov Marksman ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Whatever you think of the game, I love that tune. Makes me think of the lads who we couldn’t bring out of it.

  19. Dark Sovereign says:

    I couldn’t understand what this is supposed to say.

    And if you want stupid, you should see the Texas liberals.

  20. Dark Sovereign says:

    That’s the sort of thing that goes in like with "With all due respect…" it’s a cop out meant to avoid ill will. If you call someone an asshole, it’s disrespectful, and if you say someone ignored a basic tenant of copyright law, you have accused them of doing something illegal.

  21. thefremen says:

    McCain’s the one who backed out of a fundraiser because the guy running it made mysoginistic remarks years ago. I made no commentary on the remarks themselves simply that McCain’s camp failed to do research before promoting and announcing this event, they claimed they were unaware of the gentleman’s past indescretions up until there was just a few days before the scheduled event. I don’t give a shit when some GOP a-hole actually lets loose and makes his Taliban-esque views public, but the morons out there sure do and McCain wanted to avoid that assosciation since he’s trying to get votes from the Hillary supporters.

  22. thefremen says:

    Obama’s getting attacked right now for not using public funds since he’s already so money. Right up until November there will be hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of Americans dedicated to spreading the meme that Obama is a “secret muslim” and is “not patriotic”.

    Obama and the DNC will lose if they can’t step it up and paint McCain as a child murdering fetus eating war mongering tax overspending lazy asshole, because i can tell you without a doubt that 20% will believe the new GOP commercials that claim Obama teamed up with Saddam to plan 9/11.

  23. Dark Sovereign says:

    See here, kids? This is what we call "no research" and "misquoting" and "Obama lying/spin".

    1. McCain suggested a base system in the "hundred years" comment, much like what we have in Japan and South Korea.

    2. Neither of the campaigns can take money from lobbyists. Obama’s campaign, however, takes millions from oil industry lobbyists wives and uses lobbyists as bundlers for his campaign. McCain has the moral high ground here.

  24. Dark Sovereign says:

    The problem here is that he’s suggesting that McCain ignored copyright law, and that the company he sold his rights to actually has some reason to check if he approves. He doesn’t understand how business works, he doesn’t understand how copyrights work, and instead of mouthing his opinion, he accused the McCain campaign of breaking the law. If he were merely complaining, that would be one thing, but he isn’t.

  25. Jersey19 says:

     Perhaps artists who get paid for their work clearly understand how business works and merely express their displeasure at the way in which it works. Hmmm…freely speaking someone’s mind when they feel their is a moral injustice in the system. Sounds pretty American to me, in fact, I think Thomas Jefferson would be proud.

    As far as an inflated sense of self worth, I think free speech constitutional right of each and every citizen, no matter what their field of expertise or business happens to be.

  26. Jersey19 says:

     If everyone in the world did base their actions on good intentions, perhaps the world would be a better place, No?

    and before you call me naive, I know that not everyone will follow that premise, but it doesn’t mean we all have to sink to their level.

    …and for all the conservative bible thumping republicans out there, Jesus said "Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do"…NOT… "They are thoughtless, selfish, and mean, so let’s all act the same malicious way towards them so we can feel better about ourselves."

    You are right, the world does not run on good intentions, but the reason it doesn’t, is because of those who do not have them or follow through with them…NOT those who do!

  27. otakustu says:

    I’m John McCain and I hate war, yet I’ll keep our troops in a perpetual war in the Middle East just as long as I get backhands from Big Oil. F’ing Republican retard!

  28. TheEdge says:

    Heh,that’s a tad bit on the awkward side,isn’t it?

    In other news,Texas Republican Party questions whether or not we’ll still the White House the White House if Obama takes office.

    Although I’m pretty sure McCain is not as stupid as the Texas GOP,it just reminds me if that story……

  29. the1jeffy says:

    Thank you for being one Obama supporter that I’ve come across with a head on his shoulders.  I was starting to think Obama-heads were all touchy-feely artsy "diva drama" philes who think the world runs on good intentions.

    ~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

  30. thefremen says:

    1. lol frosted butts

    2. Yes because gun laws changed dramatically during Clinton’s stay in office and changed dramatically again when bush came into office. Not to mention there was a sudden downswing in violence because handguns became legal again.

    Revisionist history: really, the only way GOP policies can look good. Now tell me how having the largest dept in the history of the nation which was created in part by going to war without increasing taxes is an example of being financially responsible.

  31. L42yB says:

    While I too do not support McCain, I think that Lennertz is completely out of line in what he says.  If you write a peice of music and then you sell it, you no longer have any say in what it is used for.  If he wants to be so self-righteous about what his music is used for then he should never have sold it in the first place.

    — mostly harmless

  32. Anonymous says:

    "It seems like he know’s that he doesn’t have any legal rights to the music…."

    That’s kind of unclear, since he said McCain "flagrantly ignored the most basic values and tenents of copyright and intellectual property." These are pretty harsh words, and he was not just clarifying that he doesn’t support McCain.

  33. Verbinator ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Lennertz "While I do not control the ownership of this piece … "  … then you have no say in it’s use or resale.  That’s how the work-for-hire clause in contracts plays out. Same as if the developer/publisher was paying your salary when you wrote it. End of story.

    The McCain campaign had the right to license this piece for his ad.

    In the future, he needs to write his development contracts to cover his political views.

  34. Chalts says:

    Seems to me like the McCain campaign did nothing at all worth getting upset over. They got the legal rights to use the music in that ad. The fact an Obama supporter composed it is irrelevant.

  35. Austin_Lewis ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This sounds like something unimportant masquerading as a scandal. 

    I know this may sound mean, but if you sell the rights to something you make, I don’t wanna hear you bitch about it when its used in way you don’t like. 

  36. Dog Welder says:

    I came in here to pretty much say what everyone else is saying.  Guy sold the rights to his music, and now is upset in how it’s being used.  No laws were broken.

    If you want control over your music, don’t sell the rights to it.

    Now STFU and GBTW.

    Nothing to see here.

  37. Anonymous says:

    The composer makes no difference to the actual music… the music doesn’t support Obama…

    Wagner was essentially a nazi, but his music is still extremely popular.

  38. FlyinMX ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Same here, I was gonna mention that, but you beat me to it.


    The two cases are actually quite similar because the girl couldn’t do anything about it as well since it was stock photography owned by another company. I guess this would be considered stock music, in a sense.

  39. GryphonOsiris says:

    Thankfully it wasn’t the Michael Giachianno music from the Medal of Honor series. Then again, I stopped played MoH after Frontline, Call of Duty was done so much better.

  40. Verbinator says:

    "You know what else is a basic value and tenet of the American economy? Capitalism."   Last time I checked, Candidate Obama and the political party he represents are typically a bit vague and or confused about the value of Capitalism, and rewarding success, etc.

    BTW … I like the perspective you put on all the other aspects of production that go into making a  commercial.   I wonder if the manufacturers of the software and instruments Lennertz used to compose and perform his music actually support his political point of view? Did he think to get their permission before making those comments?

  41. the1jeffy says:

    It’s pretty clear that artists who get paid for their work have an inflated sense of self-worth, and absolutely no sense of how business works.

    ~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

  42. Brokenscope says:


    I really don’t have words for the rape comment. 2 reasons

    1:you misspelled rape

    2:the average democrat(obama included) take away tools that can allow someone to protect themself.


  43. thefremen says:

    If Obama used music by a musician who once said “I agree with some of the things Noam Chomsky has said” then every major news outlet would be running the story 24/7 that Obama loves music by terrorist lovers. It’s only fair McCain be put up to the same scrutiny.

    Terrorist Fist Bump, remember?

  44. Video Game Musician says:

     I am a video game composer. I spend at least 80+ hours a week writing. Every other composer I know does the same. My wife and kids are fast asleep when I get home every night of the week (7 days!) I and every other musician I know thinks that you programmers are amazing and that the graphics, gameplay, story, AND sound are all equally important elements in making a great game. I think you guys are geniuses.

    Yes all composers understand what a work for hire is, but when they agree to relinquish their rights to a VG publisher (as they must in order to get hired) they assume that the music will be exploited by that company in marketing, trailers, and other game related ventures with a certain amount of professionalism. It’s perfectly legal, but I have to agree with Lennertz, that in cases of politics, religion, and controlled substances, a phone call to double check (While not required) would be respectful and courteous and probably lead to a very long and prosperous working relationship between me and the publisher that I was working for. That’s all.



  45. KindOfBlue says:

    Really, calm down folks, there was no drama at all. I don’t think he was trying to pin anything on anybody. The composers statement was from his blog. He was merely replying to people who had seen the commercial and had asked him how he felt about it. It seems like he know’s that he doesn’t have any legal rights to the music…I think he was just disappointed.

    After all, John Mellencamp and Chuck Berry also had their music being played at McCain events and expressed their displeasure. I think that they just wanted to make it known who they supported. That’s not unreasonable. My real question is why didn’t McCain’s staffers check out the websites and blogs of all these musicians just to avoid the controversy…It’d be like Obama using a song by Ted Nugent. Not illegal, just kind of stupid in terms of message…like when Reagan tried to use Springsteen in the 80’s. Just takes a little common sense.

    In the end, nobody did anything wrong, but I can understand why it might be frustrating.



  46. Corey says:

    I agree that McCain and his campaign staff did nothing wrong: legal or moral. They got permission for use from the music’s owner and used it for their commercial. This sort of thing happens all the time. If artists don’t want their work used in ways they don’t like, then maybe should choose not to sell it at all. He lost his right to object this deal when he sold the song to the Medal of Honor team.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Thought I disagree with the manner in which you give your opinion, as a composer and artist myself, I very much agree that Lennertz is out of line. You are right in saying that he sold his music and chose money over control. Furthermore, the piece was not just sold but commissioned by a game studio that never allows contractor’s to retain rights to their music. Though commonly viewed as bad business fom an entertainment standpoint, it is rampant among game publishers and composers have made no attempts to unionize against it.

    Perhaps Lennertz would have success in protecting his rights by appealing to McCain for help, rather than using his position to attack potential leadership.

  48. Valdearg says:

    Hes not trying to control anything. If you actually read the peice, he is just saying that he is dissappointed with the use of his music for something he doesn’t believe in. He knows he has no rights, but he feels he should make a statement clarifying that he is not behind the ad that his music is in. He never once says that he should own it or that it is his to decide what to do with.

  49. Mauler ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It was no longer his music once he sold the rights to it.  Lennertz is trying to deny the folks who bought the rights to distribute the music the ability to distribute the music and that is the real theft.  Lennertz is trying to get people to not use what they own because someone might disapprove of that use and that is the real censorship.

    If Lennertz wanted to control the music he should have kept ownership of it.  He is a veteran of the music industry and should know better.  Trying to control something he doesn’t own?  That is downright disgraceful.

  50. cheng says:

    He’s slandering Mccain as unamerican and unethical, i’d say that’s worse than trying to file a lawsuit. It’s basically saying, vote for Obama, don’t vote for Mccain, because Mccain is unamerican for using my music which i don’t have control of. He’s trying to influence people’s votes, not on issues of national importance, but a tiny issue as this. If potential Mccain voters vote for Obama instead on this issue, i’d say something was wrong. I don’t see why anyone would need to forgive Mccain for something like this.

    As for your question, if someone made an anti semetic ad, with music from an extremely recognisable artist, for example Christina Aguilera, and Christina sold her song so that anyone who licensed  it can use it, then this is where we differ. Since you’re associating the song and the artist with the political message, then you may think that Christina endorses antisemitism, and as a result write a letter. I’m not saying you care, but other people would make something out of nothing. If it was me, i would not associate the message with the artist, and therefore i wouldn’t be the one to send hate mail or denounce the artist just because i heard her song in the racist ad. Do you see the difference?

  51. JP says:

    No, he’s trying to have his cake and eat it too.

    Bottom line: he sold his rights to the song, he has NO say in how its used.  Period.  If that fragile little conscience of his is so important, if he values his creation and voice so much, why did he prostitute it off for a shiny new nickle?   I respect the artist who makes sacrifices for his/her art.   And I respect the artist who makes a living and supports a family by creating works for their employers or third parties.  I have no respect for people who get paid for a work, and then whine how the buyers choose to recoup their investment.

    In short, Lennertz is a dick.

    Oh, and not at all surprising from a Obama supporter.

  52. Monte says:

    There is NO attempt to control. You can’t call it an attempt to control the music if he is doing NOTHING to actually to change how the music is controlled. no lawsuits, no official complaints with the game company, no requests to have the ad pulled, no attempt to find a way to pressure McCain into taking down the ad, no demands of payments from McCain, nothing. It’s like saying you’re trying to control a car when you aren’t even sitting in the car; like saying what you would like the car to do even though you’re sitting on the sidelines where the actual driver can’t hear you; he’s not even backseat driving. All he is doing is complaining, nothing more.

    Is he saying he would like more control or that he is frustrated with his lack of control? ya maybe, but at the same time he understands he doesn’t have control. Is he making an actual attempt to take the reigns and regain control of his music? no, because if he was then he would actually be doing something about it instead of just talking. Is he saying that getting his blessing to use the music first would have been more respectful and morally the thing to do before using it for something he may have serious feelings about? ya, and that is the ONLY thing he is saying.

    As for your question, the difference here is you are replacing morals with business. Why do game companies and so forth reject the idea of used game sales, not out of moral standards saying that they are ethically against resale, they do it because its all about money; afterall, the ones who do the most complaining are publishers, people who have little role in the actual creation of the product. I never really hear these complaints coming from the programmers of graphic artist; in a business sense, i think their pay is pre-determined so the re-sale of games would not impact them individually. personal feelings vs business greed… i don’t know about you, but i’ve never heard someone make a moral arguement when the complaigned about game resale (piracy yes, but not game resale)

    But IF one of the people who were actually involved in the creation of the game actually did have have an ethical issue with resale, saying he felt disrespected or some such, then i certainly would be fine with him complaining about it. If he wants to vent his frustration and feels hurt then let him… you’re the one saying that this musician can’t feel disrespected and disappointed with how his music has been used…

    Like i said before, whether or not you forgive/understand what McCain did is one thing, is another thing to say that the musician can’t complain or feel disappointed.

    And how about my question, would you be fine if something you created was used for something you strongly morally objected to, such as something promoting hate against a race, religion or so forth? would you also be fine if you actually got e-mails from people about your "role" in the promotion? How would you feel?


  53. Mauler ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    He can’t take any action to stop him because he doesn’t own the property in question.  He knows this so the only thing he can do is whine about it.  The moment he says that McCain should have sought permission from him to use that music, which is his entire point, he is trying to control something he no longer owns.   He is trying to control music he doesn’t own and has been very clear about that from the start.  Which is why he tried to claim there was some misunderstanding about who controlled the music.  His word by the way.  Control.  He used that word in two different messages. It’s all about control.  And he ain’t got it.

    You never did answer my question.  Is buying used games, music or movies unetihcal, immoral and unamerican if the makers of the game don’t want it?

  54. Monte says:

     Ethics, refers to morality, proper code of conduct and so forth; actually very broad since ethics can be subjected to interpretation. Lennertz damn well understands that he has no right to the music and that even if he did tell the McCain camp that they did not have his blessing to use the music and they just said "fuck you" and just used it the legal way, that there isn’t a god damn thing he can do about it. He understands that because he knows he does not own the rights. He wanted McCain to ask him for permission because he thinks that would have been the MORAL thing to do. This statement on his blog is 100% his OPINION! He is stating what he would LIKE to happen; that he would LIKE people to ask him and respect his wishes. There is no attempt to "Control"… he is not saying McCain MUST ask him permission; he is not making any threats; he is not making any demands; he is just stating what he would LIKE to happen and how he THINKS other people should treat eachother… really, it’s ridiculous to call this an attempt to control his music he doesn’t own since he is taking utterly no action at all to try and STOP McCain; he is stating his opinion and nothing more. 

    His code of ethics is that a person should ask an artist if they may use their work, just a simple courtesy to get the artist’s blessing. It shows appreciation for the artwork and it shows respect for the artist. A lot of artist carry on an unwritten code like this;artist put a lot of work into their art and want people to appreciate and respect that. You’re well within your right to use the art without their blessing, as it would still be legal to do so, but for a lot of artists, that just plain disrespectful. Is what McCain did legal? yes. But is it Moral and the right thing to do? was it right not to give proper respect to the artist? cause if it’s not Morally correct, then it is fair to say it was unethical. 

    And this is just about endorsement, it’s also about the personal feelings of artist. Frankly he just plain doesn’t like the fact that his music is being used to help someone he is against. Really, if i had my work(which i no longer owned) used in some kind of anti-semitic ad or something like that, even if no one realized it was my work, i would still be pissed off that my work was being used in a way i would never wanted… can i do anything about it? legally, no. But that isn’t gonna stop me from being pissed off.

  55. Mauler says:

    Didn’t you see the part where he wanted McCain to ask his permission to use the song he no longer owns?  That McCain is unethical and unamerican because he didn’t seek Lennertz permission to use a song that Lennertz doesn’t own?

    Had Lennertz had is his way, McCain would have been denied permission from using the song that Lennertz doesn’t own because Lennertz doesn’t want him to use it.  I’m repeating myself here because it’s an important point.  Lennertz doesn’t own the song.  He has absolutely no say over how it is used because he sold it.  He can’t file a lawsuit because it would be baseless and he knows it.  So he resorts to mudflinging.

    Should game companies get to deny the sale of used games because the game companies don’t like them sold that way?  Is it unethical to buy used games from companies that don’t want you to buy them used?  Are people who buy and sell used games showing disrespect to the artists who make the games?  Toss in CDs and DVDs as well.

    What is really silly about this is that nobody hears music at a convention / commerical / what-have-you and sees that as an endorsement.  Nobody.  So his complaint is foolishness combined with arrogance and deception (the part where he said there was a mix-up with who owned the song).  Had Lennertz left it as an interesting story of how the music industry works or even as a vehical by which to change it then we would have no problem.  He didn’t do that.  He wanted to call McCain unamerican and unethical while doing the most unamerican and unethical thing imaginable – the control of property he knew he didn’t own.

  56. Monte says:

     Tell me, how is he trying to "control" his music? he is not making any kind of lawsuits; he is not demanding/requesting that the ad be pulled; all he is doing here is expressing how he feels. Hell, this is an article on his blog, a non-news website that is designed so that the author can talk about whatever the hell he feels like; relly you make it sound like he is sending this message to every major news outlet to spark up a major controversy and pressure McCain into pulling the ad without him asking.

    To ask an artist if you can use their work, even when the artist is not in control of his work, instead of just doing things the legal way is best way to show respect for the artist. For instance, when you get married, the your girlfriend has full control of her life and is they only one who needs to say yes; it doesn’t matter how daddy feels about the wedding… however, getting her father’s blessing first is the proper way to show the old man respect. 

    That’s all this story is about, an artist who feels disappointed that his work was used for something he doesn’t support and would have very much appreciated being asked about this first; that McCain and the company would have shown him some respect and got his blessing first before using his creation. And frankly, i do feel it to be unethical not to show an artist respect.

  57. waaaahmbulance says:

    We all make choices.  This artist made the choice to sell rights to his creation in service of the almighty dollar.  Now he should accept what comes along with that: no control over what happens to it or what is done with it.  If he feels this passionately about it, maybe from now on he’ll turn down the extra money and keep the rights to his music to himself.   But probably not. 🙂  He doesn’t own the song, he should forget about it.  Period.

  58. Mauler ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Should McCain seek approval from everyone who works on the Ford assembly line when he rides into town in a Ford just so he doesn’t offend someone who works there?  Should Obama seek approval from every Boeing employee when he flies across the states?  What you are suggesting is just this side of ludicrous.  He got the permission from the rights holder.  Which is not only the legal thing to do, but the ethical thing as well.

    Had Lennertz stopped at disappointed part of his statement there wouldn’t be a problem.  He is free to feel disappointed.  I’d feel disappointed too.  To call it unethical and unamerican is so far over the top to be laughable.  What he is trying to do is to control something after he has sold it.  Like record companies trying to control the sale of used CDs, a theory that has come into the game world as well.  He no longer owns the rights to it because he sold it.  It is no longer his by any stretch of the imagination.  If one was tempted to call something unethical and unamerican, his attempts to knowingly control something he doesn’t own would be it.

  59. Valdearg says:

    Lets use a somewhat real example. Im a software Engineer, and If I wrote a program for a company that I work for, which means they own the rights to that software and I have no rights, moral, legal or otherwise to that software. Lets say that program was then sold to the McCain Campaign and used to help them secure the presidency. I would be a little dismayed. Even if NOBODY recognized who the author of the software is, which, I might add, is not a luxury that our composer friend has,  just knowing that something I wrote helped somebody I opposed win the whitehouse would bother me.  I can see where this guy is coming from, and I certainly agree that he has no rights to the music, but it is certainly his perogative to get out there and

    A: Set the information straight, seeing as Im sure some people now think he is in the tank for McCain,.


    B: Voice his true opinion about how his peice is being used.

    I can say with certainty, that if I were in his position, I would do just what he did.

  60. Valdearg says:

    Agreed. If I created a peice of art or music and it was used to promote an agenda that I did not believe in, even if whoever was using it was well within thier legal rights, I would not be happy either.

    I support this guy 100%, and anyone who has any respect for artists, composers, and anyone else who creates anything from thier own minds, skill, and inspiration, *cough* Video Game Publishers *cough*, should feel the same way. If you don’t, you are just as bad as any thief or censor that exists today.

  61. Dvirus says:

    Yes, guy did sell the rights to his music by having them used in a game, so he has no copyright or legal leg to stand on if he wanted to take action. Even still, he created it, and feels some responsiblity for how it is used from here on out. He might have to suck it up and watch his music used against his wishes, but he can still tell people he thinks it sucks. I know I would.

  62. Monte says:

    If you felt strongly enough about it, then i actually would agree with Burger King asking the creator out of respect; hell, if it were me, in a mundane situation like that, i might just let them use it despite how i feel because i’m happy that they actually took the time to ask me before going over my head and just getting the legal rights… though the reason why no one would use McDonald’s and Burger King as an example is because something like that is so damn mundane (i rank it right there down there with pepsi vs coke)… the presidential election however is  real issue as the election will determine so much about the united states and will have effects around the world; really try making your point while using something terrible like drugs, crime, racism and so forth (just to understand where this guy is coming from); as opposed to your preferred fast food place (honeslty, unless you really, really, really hate burgerking THAT much, you are not trying at all to see where this guy is coming from)… i’d ask again, would you be perfectly fine with your artwork being used for something that you would fight tooth and nail against? would you be fine with the implication that you support their views? would you be fine knowing that a cause that you are strongly against benefited and moved forward because of your work?

    It’s all about putting the creator’s feelings into consideration. And in this case, the McCain camp did not consider that he might have strong feelings about the war, the economy or anything else like that. Should we forgive the Mccain camp for not taking his feelings into consideration? Maybe, that’s up for each person to decide; some understand them overlooking the feelings of the artist by simply not thinking about them, and other’s think the next would-be leader should have more respect and consideration for artists. But should we dismiss the feelings and fault this musician for being disappointed that his creation is being used for something that he is strongly against and does not want to play any role in supporting? a most certain hell no.

  63. DiRT says:

    But in this case, the creator of the work is just plain wrong. It doesn’t matter if he is for or against McCain. The moral objection would only hold true if the piece was somehow specifically created to support Obama or attack McCain. Just because I prefer McDonald’s over Burger King, does that mean Burger King has a moral obligation to check if I, as the creator of a piece of music, doesn’t like them enough for them to use the song I sold to a 3rd party in one of their commercials?Of course not. This is a non-story. Grow up guys. Move along.

  64. Monte says:

     This is not an issue of control, this is not a legal issue, and he is not denying anyone any rights; This is an issue of respect and ethics. Was McCain within his full rights to buy the rights to the music and use it? yes. Was the company that owns the rights to the music within their full right sell him the music? yes again. However, Because the music was used for something that the creator is strongly against, something that the creator would never want to be involved with, it shows an enormous amount of disrespect for the work he’s done. 

    Let’s take an extreme example… what if you created, an no longer had the rights, to a piece of artwork and found out that the your creation was legally used for anti-semitic propaganda (even worse if it’s against you’re own race or religion) or pretty much anything you are completely and utterly against and would never wanted to be associated with. Would you be happy that your name is now attached to such a things, especially knowing that their are thousands of people who will recognize your work; hell what if they took it a step further and even threw you’re threw your name in there somewhere to give you credit… man, if people saw that, they would probably bombard you with lots of hate mail… it may not be that bad for Lennertz, but his feelings about all this is strong enough that he feels that he must say something

    I’m actually a little reminded of an article that said that Sen. Kirk Dillard requested the Obama camp to pull an ad that he appeared in; the ad did not say Dillard was an obama supporter (it was an ad saying that he and obama worked together on a few issues), but Dillard was afraid that some might jump to that conclusion (they story was true, but he was still a McCain man)… their were no legal threats, but the Obama camp respected his wishes and pulled the ad when he asked

    Frankly, it really does pain me to read these kind of comments since this is a blog where comments are usually very strong to stand in support of creators out of respect for what they’ve done (exception though for when they go too far, like over abusive copyright protection methods… though we make up for it by still making the stand against those who pirate games)… just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right.

  65. Shih Tzu says:

    You’ve pretty much got it right, as far as I can tell about the situation.  Still, it’s also his prerogative to make a public stink about it, since you can tell he’s been getting inquiries as to whether he supports the values in the ad.  If people were under the impression that I had knowingly done anything to help John McCain, I’d feel pretty embarrassed too.

  66. Not Quite Jack Thompson, Attorney says:

    I was going to write out some elaborate paragraph in which I said basically the same thing, maybe punch it up a bit with a few $12 words, but really…what’s the point. The1jeffy said it exactly. The guy sold his work, he needs to get off his high horse. Three cheers to the1jeffy for saying this so I don’t have to – now I can get back to reading /.

  67. the1jeffy says:

    "While I do not control the ownership of this piece,"

    OK, then shut up.  You sold your work, you gave up control of it, so guess what, you have no say in how it gets used. 

    "ignored the most basic values and tenents of copyright and intellectual property…"

    What?  So you say that a composer owns IP and Copyright of a piece even if he doesn’t own controlling rights to it?


    "I do think however, that they should have checked to see if the creators of content that they are using to promote their views are in fact in sync with them…"

    Why?  The producers of this commercial got permission, even if there was a mix-up (which doesn’t make sense, because if the McCain campaign did nothing wrong, then what was the mix-up?).  You took money from the use of this music in the game, and now you are entitled to royalties from this use (unless you realy got boned in your contract).  Lodge your protest by returning those funds to McCain, and then you can talk.

    This would be newsworthy if there was some missappropriation.  Otherwise, who cares what this guy thinks?

    ~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

  68. Anonymous says:

    It’s a requirement of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 to give disclaimers regarding political campaign ads and messages.

  69. Brokenscope says:

    Because you notice that there are ads without those messages.

    It basically meants that the canidate had something to do with the ad.

  70. Andy says:

    @ Haggard

    I always wondered why they said that at the end of the messages… It’s not as though they’re being coerced into saying their message.

  71. Deadman Reaper says:

    He did lose the rights to say what his music was to be used for since he sold it to the game company. But as an artisit myself and supports no politician I would actually be kinda honored that it was chosen by anyside of the debate to be used in a commercial so not only would gamers hear it but that an entire audiance that would not usually hear would be able too.

  72. Artifex says:

    I think that the previous poster did "pay attention to everything he says", Lennertz made a commercial piece for a commercial game. Lennertz lost his vote on how to use the music when he signed the usage rights of his music away to the Electronic Arts. So, why is checking with the original composer’s feelings important at all? Why is the onus on McCain to ‘do their research’ on the composer’s political viewpoints when it doesn’t matter? Do you worry about Mozart’s political views when you hear one of his compositions?

  73. Anonymous says:

    There are different kinds of rights and royalties and it is very complex. There are things such as the writers share and publishers share, and so forth. All composers retain writer’s share, one type of rights.

    Depending on how the exact contract is for this particular piece of music it could need approval and contract permission from various people. Some contracts could even say permission is required for use from the original owner. It varies wildly.

    The sad or weird thing is that the original composer is getting paid royalty money for this ad.


  74. Brokenscope says:

    He didn’t retain the rights to the song. There is no moral obligation to make sure he approves of the usage


  75. Haggard ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    "I’m John McCain and I approve this message"

    Considering it was him speaking, I should hope so too ^^


  76. Anonymous says:

    You obviously didn’t pay attention to everything he says, wherein it is stated that there was a "mix-up as to which company controlled the rights to the music".  He also says that they should have consulted him since they would probably want to make sure that the creator of the music that they were using was actually a supporter of their campaign, which would have been a smart move on their part, considering not doing so elicited this response.  He’s saying that he knows they did not do it intentionally, but they should have been more thorough about researching the material they wanted to use for their commercial.

  77. Anonymous says:

    I’ll be totally honest with you, if the company he produced the music for claimed they owned it, and the McCain Campaign requested it from them to begin with, I don’t think he or his campaing intentionally attempt to "disgrace or inflict any hardship or ill-will on the artists who create in this country."  I think they asked, and the apparent owners said yes, and this is legally all fine and dandy.

    When this piece of work was signed over to the company that used it, it left your hands so they could use it as they please, and they decided doing something with it that was entirely legal, this is not some kind of personal attack merely because you don’t agree with what it was used for.  As an artist, you should have understood that corporate ownership of a work could lead to something like this.  I am dismayed you lacked the forethought to see this coming.

    I suggest you reread what you said earlier: "The McCain campaign did nothing illegal."  So there was no ignoring copyright law or your rights to your intellectual property.  You don’t like it?  Tough.

  78. Anonymous says:

     Brokenscope, there’s a moral obligation but not a legal obligation.  However moral obligations usually mean squat when it comes to politics or money.

  79. cppcrusader says:

    I disagree.  The only obligation, moral or otherwise, is to the person/entity that controls the rights to the piece.

  80. Anonymous says:

    Can’t wait to hear how JT will go on about how vidoe games are corrupting politics as well as our youth!

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