It’s hard for anything to not somehow relate back to the ongoing 2012 election at the moment. So when I recently read on entertainment news sites about how Dee Snider took offense at Paul Ryan playing the Twisted Sister song “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” I wasn’t surprised. It had to do with music, so of course entertainment news would report it. And it’s not like this is the first time this has happened, either. See Heart’s issue with Sarah Palin using “Barracuda,” “Born in the U.S.A.” being used by Reagan, Survivor insisting Newt Gingrich stop using “Eye of the Tiger,” and Sam Moore asking Obama not to play “Hold On, I’m Coming” in 2008.
As a writer, an artist, someone who wants to create things for others to view and enjoy, this got me thinking. Would there ever be a point that I would turn from blind joy that ANYONE shows interest in what I’ve made to anger over who expresses their fondness for my creation?
At what point does an artist stop having ownership of what they’ve made? Are they getting paid for the song getting played, and does that give them the ability to pick and choose where it is used? And not merely financial ownership, but ownership of the spirit of the movie, song, book, art, etc.? If a musician can take umbrage at a political candidate using their song as background music, could an author insist that a politician not quote their writing because they disagree with their policies?