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MC5’s Wayne Kramer Files Suit Over ‘No on Prop. 23’ Ad for Using 1968 Band Footage

Wayne Kramer of the legendary 1960s band the MC5 has filed suit in a California court against a political action committee behind the No. on Prop 23 campaign, contending that a commercial widely broadcast in the weeks running up to the election used vintage footage and appropriated his likeness without permission.

The ad spot, now taken out of circulation, opened with three seconds of unidentified footage of the MC5 performing at the Festival of Life in Chicago during the Democratic convention of 1968 (a setting coincidentally getting renewed attention due to the new film “The Trial of the Chicago 7”).

The brief footage is followed by a kidney dialysis patient Janet Gross, saying she “spent 50 years in the music business. I’ve got stories I can’t repeat. I’d still be there if I hadn’t gotten sick.”

Kramer and his reps say the juxtaposition suggests that Gross is referring to Kramer as someone she might have lurid stories about — and that the footage was illegally used, in any instance, since it was unlicensed and could only have been pulled off of Kramer’s social media accounts. The No on Prop. 23 campaign took down the commercial upon getting Kramer’s initial cease-and-desist, but says the footage was purchased.

“It is and always has been solely my decision to endorse or oppose a vote using my face, my music, my performance — my values,” Kramer said in a statement. “I’m no stranger to political action, and it disgusts me that (No on) Prop-23’s $100 million repository for marketing that was raised solely to force their vote did not include a plan to request my consent. It’s my hope that every artist reads this filing and concludes that the use of one’s image is incontrovertibly at the top of a short list of issues to use the courts to fight for.”

More bluntly, in keeping with the tone of MC5 songs like “Kick Out the Jams,” Kramer said, “Give me a break with your jive bulls—.”


Margaret Saadi Kramer declined to say where she and Wayne Kramer stand on Prop. 23, which would mandate the presence of physicians during treatment in outpatient dialysis clinics, a requirement that many of these facilities contend would drive them out of business and decrease access to medical care. The state’s Democratic party has endorsed the proposition, while the Los Angeles Times’ editorial board opposes it.

Read entire article at Variety