The composer of the Survivor hit "Eye of the Tiger" has sued Newt Gingrich to stop the Republican presidential candidate from using the "Rocky III" anthem at campaign events.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in Chicago by Rude Music Inc., the Palatine-based music publishing company owned by Frank Sullivan, who composed the song and copyrighted it in 1982. The lawsuit states that as early as 2009, Gingrich has entered rallies and public events to the pulsing guitar riffs of the song, which was the background track to Rocky Balboa's training montages in the film and became a No. 1 hit.
The suit lists appearances by Gingrich at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and numerous stops in Iowa among events at which the candidate has used the song without Sullivan's permission, as well as Internet videos featuring Gingrich that have been posted by American Conservative Union. The Washington-based conservative group and Gingrich's campaign organization, Newt 2012, also are named as defendants.
In a lengthy section of the five-page complaint, Rude's attorneys point out that Gingrich is well aware of copyright laws, noting he is listed as author or co-author of more than 40 published works and has earned $500,000 to $1 million from Gingrich Productions, a company that sells his written work, documentaries and audio books.
It also notes Gingrich's criticism of the "Stop Online Piracy Act" during a recent debate in South Carolina, where Gingrich suggested the law was unnecessary because "We have a patent office, we have copyright law. If a company finds it has genuinely been infringed upon, it has the right to sue."
The suit asks for an injunction to prevent Gingrich from using the song, as well as damages and attorneys' fees to be determined by the court.
The Tribune was unable to reach attorneys for Rude or the Gingrich campaign late Monday.