CHICAGO (CN) – Survivor guitarist Frank Sullivan III sued presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee on Wednesday for blasting his song “Eye of the Tiger” during a rally for anti-gay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis.
Sullivan, one of the founding members of the band Survivor, is co-author of the song “Eye of the Tiger,” the theme song for the movie “Rocky III.” His company, Rude Music, co-owns the rights to Sullivan’s songs, court records show.
Rude Music sued Huckabee for President Inc. in Federal Court, claiming the Republican presidential candidate used “Eye of the Tiger” without permission at a campaign stop.
“On September 8, 2015, Mr. Huckabee appeared at a Grayson, Kentucky rally supporting Kim Davis, the controversial county clerk who gained national attention after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples; ‘Eye of the Tiger’ was played as Mr. Huckabee escorted Ms. Davis from the Carter County Detention Center,” according to the 5-page lawsuit.
Davis spent five days in jail after she was held in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples.
Huckabee led her out of jail to the rally, and hoisted her hands in the air as “Eye of the Tiger” played. He told the crowd, “If somebody needs to go to jail, I’m willing to go in her place.”
This is not the first time Huckabee has allegedly stepped on musicians’ ownership rights.
Tom Scholz, chief songwriter for Boston, complained when Huckabee, an amateur bassist, performed the 1970s smash hit “More Than a Feeling” with his band Capitol Offense on the campaign trail, according to Rude Music’s complaint.
“Many of Huckabee for President’s senior staffers and communications and media consultants are alumni of the 2008 campaign that encountered this very issue and therefore are knowledgeable of the copyright laws,” the lawsuit states.
Rude Music seeks damages for copyright infringement. It is represented by Annette McGarry with McGarry & McGarry in Chicago.
Huckabee’s campaign did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment sent Wednesday afternoon.
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