Prof. Michael Moffit, in last Friday’s Indisputably blog, posted a piece about a mediated settlement between former Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, and Talking Heads leader, David Byrne over the unauthorized use of the song “Road to Nowhere” in an election ad. He picked up on an April 12, 2011 post by Martha Neil in the ABA Journal.
The mediated settlement, although largely confidential, included an undertaking by Charlie Crist to apologize in public. The above video posted on YouTube (on the very same day as when the parties settled!) is the result. When I looked it up on You Tube on April 30, 2011, it had been seen close to 109,000 times.
The case is of interest to us as supporters of ADR in IP disputes, as it involves the infringement of an intellectual property, — in this case the copyright(s) in the song “Road to Nowhere”. Ironically, a video of the song (just an illustrated copy of the CD) is the suggested selection once you are through viewing Charlie Crist’s apology.
David Byrne filed his lawsuit on May 24, 2010, and presto, we have a solution on April 11, 2011, just 10 months and 2 weeks later. This shows the power of mediation, when you do it as early as you can. Both parties gained: David would not have gotten an apology in a lawsuit, as that is not one of the remedies available to a court of law, and both parties saved a ton of money (probably literally!)
It also illustrates what is for me a new form of apology: public, and using the new media vehicle of a You Tube video. Prof. Peter Robinson teaches a separate course on apology at the Straus Institute, but I don’t think it includes this modern form the apology can take! Mediators, take note. This is a new tool in your toolbox. Take the road to somewhere!