Is Sweeney violating copyright law with political stunt?

Senate President Steve Sweeney has been waging a little noticed campaign over the last few weeks to get Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr to commit not to accept campaign contributions from Ashbritt and other contractors who cleaned up New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy.

This morning, Sweeney ramped up the campaign with a video parody of the viral Harlem Shake.

Harlem Shake is owned by songwriter Harry Bauer Rodrigues, who records under the name “Baauer”and the record label Mad Decent.

The song’s viral popularity in recents weeks has spurred claims of copyright infringement on the part of artists whose voices are in the song who have not been credited or compensated by Baauer or Mad Decent, according to the New York Times On the flip side, Mad Decent and Baauer stand to collect millions of dollars from people, like Sweeney, who “steal” their song, according to Hollywood Reporter.  YouTube and a company called INDMusic have created a program, ContentID, to track copyright piracy and collect from the offenders.

MMM wondered if Sweeney’s video was funded by New Jersey taxpayers and if the Senate President had obtained a license from Mad Decent for the use of the song.  The YouTube channel that hosts the song is called NJSenDemsMajority, a similar name to the state funded website, njsendems.com.

MMM called Sweeney’s West Deptford and Trenton offices to find out.  Within a half hour, a well known political hired gun who asked not to be named in this story called back.

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Posted: March 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2013 Election, NJ Democrats, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »