Newt Gingrich Sued for Using ‘Eye of the Tiger’ at Campaign Events

Survivor's Frankie Sullivan is fed up with Gingrich's unauthorized use of the hit song, and has decided to take action.

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Jim Young/ Reuters

For the past few years, presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has been rising up to the challenge of his rivals by taking the stage at political events to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” But Frankie Sullivan, co-writer of the 1982 smash hit, has also channeled Rocky Balboa and is ready for the thrill of a fight — albeit a legal one.

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On Monday, Sullivan sued Gingrich in federal court, citing the GOP candidate’s use of the song at several campaign events without permission, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. According to the lawsuit, filed on behalf of Sullivan’s publishing company Rude Music Inc, Gingrich’s transgressions began as early as 2009.  Sullivan cited political events such as the Southern Republic Leadership Conference and public appearances in Iowa and Pennsylvania as instances of Gingrich’s unlawful use of the copyrighted work. The suit also claims a video on the Newt 2012 Inc. website features Gingrich entering a crowded Pennsylvania venue as “Eye of the Tiger” blares in the background.

Taking legal action has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with copyright infringement, Sullivan told the Sun-Times. “My legacy, my life, has been ‘Eye of the Tiger,’” he said.

(MORE: A Brief History of Campaign Songs)

Sullivan’s co-writer and fellow founding member of Survivor, Jim Peterik, said he “hates suits” and doesn’t plan to get involved. In fact, he said he’s fine with politicians using the song — though he might make one exception. “If someone is out there trying to make a difference, let him do it…Unless it was Adolf Hitler,” Peterik said.

Gingrich’s campaign was not available to comment on the suit to the Sun-Times.

If successful, Sullivan will be awarded damages, any profits gained from using the song, attorney fees and court costs. And, of course, if Sullivan gets his way, Gingrich will no longer be pumping up crowds to those iconic opening notes. Watch a video of Gingrich using the song at a rally below.

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