Several musicians and bands are more than a little annoyed that their songs are being used as atmospheric music on the Rush Limbaugh show, among them the band Rush, whose song “The Spirit of Radio” was playing in the background when the conservative windbag called Sandra Fluke
Limbaugh has since (kind of) apologized to Fluke, and has removed his remarks from his shows’ transcripts after over forty advertisers removed themselves from his show. Meanwhile Rush the band, Peter Gabriel, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, and the Fabulous Thunderbirds all want their tunes gone from Rush the Limbaugh’s radio program.
Rush the band had their attorney send Rush the Limbaugh a cease and desist letter:
The use of Rush’s music in this way is an infringement of Rush’s copyrights and trademarks. The public performance of Rush’s music is not licensed for political purposes and any such use is in breach of public performance licenses and constitutes copyright infringement. There are civil and criminal remedies for copyright infringement, including statutory damages and fines.
Tom Morello told Rolling Stone and later tweeted:
Rush Limbaugh played “Sleep Now in the Fire” as a bumper on his show today. Our response: ‘Hey Jackass, stop using our music on your racist, misogynist, right wing clown show.’
The Fabulous Thunderbirds’ lead singer Kim Wilson says the band is
mortified by his (Limbaugh’s) attack on this young woman (Fluke). There is no amount of money this guy could pay me to be a part of his cruel rhetoric.
A post on Peter Gabriel’s Facebook page reads:
Peter was appalled to learn that his music was linked to Rush Limbaugh’s extraordinary attack on Sandra Fluke. It is obvious from anyone that knows Peter’s work that he would never approve such a use. He has asked his representatives to make sure his music is withdrawn and especially from these unfair aggressive and ignorant comments.
Radio stations and broadcast networks pay a licensing fee which covers the public performance of their songs, so it’s unlikely any of these musicians could win a lawsuit. However they do have the right to make noise about where and how their music is used, and to let their fans know they are appalled and disgusted.