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Mike Huckabee Owes Survivor $25,000 for Using ‘Eye of the Tiger’

Kris Connor / Jason Davis, Getty Images
Kris Connor / Jason Davis, Getty Images

Former Arkansas governor and onetime 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is going to pay Survivor $25,000 for playing “Eye of the Tiger” without permission last year. According to CNNMoney, Huckabee agreed to a confidential settlement with Rude Music, which is owned by Frankie Sullivan, Survivor’s guitarist and the co-writer of the band’s No. 1 hit in 1982. (“Eye of the Tiger” also served as the theme song to the blockbuster Rocky III movie the same year.)

Huckabee, who dropped out of the presidential race in February, played “Eye of the Tiger” in September 2015 at a rally for Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue same-sex couples marriage licenses. Sullivan and Rude Music sued Huckabee for copyright infringement and for using the song without permission.

He initially tried to claim that the Davis rally was a “religious assembly … signifying joy and praise” at her release from jail, since religious events are exempt from paying for songs. But it was discovered that Huckabee claimed the event’s fees as a campaign expense, and he then agreed to pay Rude Music. The payment was spotted in Huckabee’s campaign expenses in federal election records.

Huckabee paid half of the settlement in May as an “itemized disbursement”; the other half was listed as “debts and obligations” in a June 20 filing. He’s petitioning the Federal Election Commission to allow him to launch a legal defense fund to pay off the settlement. In 2012, Sullivan filed suit against another presidential hopeful, Newt Gingrich, for using “Eye of the Tiger” without permission.

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