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OFF BEAT: Rock band Rush wants Rush Limbaugh to stop using its music


Call it Rush vs. Rush. Advertisers aren’t the only ones in a hurry to distance themselves from conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh in the wake of the Sandra Fluke scandal; rock bands are getting into the act as well.

On Tuesday, Canadian progressive-rock veterans Rush sent Mr. Limbaugh a cease-and-desist letter through their attorney barring him from using the band’s music during his broadcasts. Band members apparently were unaware of Mr. Limbaugh’s frequent use of their music until a Huffington Post reporter asked them how they felt about being associated with the controversial host, according to a report.

“The public performance of Rush’s music is not licensed for political purposes, and any such use is in breach of public performance licenses and constitutes copyright infringement,” Robert Farmer, the band’s attorney, wrote in his letter. “In addition, the use of Rush’s music in this manner implies an endorsement of the views expressed and products advertised on the show, and is in breach of not only copyright and trademark rights, but also of the New York Civil Rights Law.”

Rush’s song “The Spirit of Radio” was playing in the background during the now-infamous March 1 segment in which he hurled a barrage of assaults at Ms. Fluke, a Georgetown University graduate student, going as far as to call her a “slut” and a “prostitute.” Ms. Fluke first made headlines in late February when she was denied a chance to address Congress on the merits of a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide health insurance coverage for birth control prescriptions.

Since his March 1 broadcast, Mr. Limbaugh’s program has lost as many as 40 of its sponsors and was dropped by at least two radio stations, according to several media reports.

Rush is not the first musical act to bar Mr. Limbaugh from playing their songs. After finding out that his hit “Sledgehammer” was also a frequent feature on the show, a spokesperson for singer Peter Gabriel posted a note to his Facebook page indicating a move to block Mr. Limbaugh from playing his music on the air.

“Peter was appalled to learn that his music was linked to Rush Limbaugh’s extraordinary attack on Sandra Fluke,” the note said. “It is obvious from anyone that knows Peter’s work that he would never approve such a use. He has asked his representatives to make sure his music is withdrawn and especially from these unfair aggressive and ignorant comments.”