Audiosocket sues Ted Cruz in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Washington, seeking damages against the former GOP candidate and its advertising firm. The complaint alleges that the campaign used two songs, in television and online ads, without permission.
Those two songs used were “Lens” by Sarah Schachner and “Fear of Complacency” by Brad Couture, Geek Wire reports. CEO Brent McCrossen said he believes the campaign committed “intellectual property theft,” and that “they are trying to protect copyrights and make sure artists are fairly compensated.”
As Audiosocket sues Ted Cruz in U.S. District Court in Seattle, McCrossen says the company, which developed software to root out infringement cases, was notified of the case after the campaign sought permission to use the songs. He says the Audiosocket sales rep said no.
McCrossen says, in his mind, that what makes this case “the most egregious.” He says the company is seeking an unspecified amount in damages but wants to “stop the infringement first.”
The lawsuit claims that the Cruz campaign’s Hollywood ad agency, Madison McQueen, never revealed the two songs would be used in political advertisements, one of which aired on Fox Business News more than 86 times. Audiosocket is seeking $25,000 for each of those alleged contract breaches, and its attorneys said additional damages are under consideration. The ad has been viewed on YouTube more than 78,000 times.
One of the advertisements, called “Victories,” has been pulled by the now-defunct Cruz/Carly Fiorina campaign after Audiosocket sent a cease-and-desist letter, according to Audiosocket’s Seattle attorney, Stephen VanDerhoef. The second advertisement, called “Best to Come,” remained live on YouTube on Wednesday despite Audiosocket’s efforts to have it removed. It has been viewed more than 12,000 times, HotAir reported.
Moreover, the lawsuit claims that the Cruz campaign actually released “Best to Come” before Madison McQueen had even signed the contract with Audiosocket to use the song “Fear of Complacency,” as its soundtrack. That song was written by New Hampshire artist Brad Couture, writing under the name “Sleevenotes.”
The song used in the Victories advertisement, titled “Lens,” was written by Los Angeles film and video-game composer Sarah Schachner. Both Couture and Schachner are plaintiffs in the lawsuit as well.
While Audiosocket sues Ted Cruz in U.S. District Court in Seattle, the lawsuit alleges breach of contract and copyright violations and claims that a Madison McQueen employee in September 2015 downloaded “Lens” from band’s site. In December, the ad agency entered into a standard “small business” contract with Audiosocket, stating the tune would be used for a project called “Victories.”
The lawsuit alleges Madison McQueen never disclosed that “Victories” was a political advertisement. The contract specifically prohibited the song from being broadcast on television, or used for “political purposes.”
In February, two months after the ad was released, Madison McQueen reportedly realized it had no right to use the song on cable television, and sought to obtain permission to do so, according to the lawsuit.
Audiosocket said it contacted Schachner and asked if the Cruz campaign could use her song, but she said no, according to court documents.
“Although Audiosocket advised Madison McQueen that political use of ‘Lens’ was not approved, Madison McQueen chose to ignore the political purpose and cable television restrictions” and allowed the ad to run repeatedly on Fox Business News, the lawsuit alleges.
In January, Madison McQueen signed a similar contract for use of the song “Fear of Complacency.” Again, it said the tune would be used for a project called “Best to Come,” but did not identify it as a political advertisement.
Law 360 said that as Audiosocket sues Ted Cruz in U.S. District Court in Seattle, the suit alleges that the campaign began broadcasting the commercial the day before the contract was signed.