Heller Big Spender Ad Lawsuit

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – Republican Rep. Dean Heller’s use of the Broadway classic “Big Spender” in Nevada radio and television ads criticizing his Democratic opponent, Jill Derby, has drawn a lawsuit threat from the widow of the music’s composer, Cy Coleman.

Shelby Coleman said the Cy Coleman Estate turned down a request last month to use “Big Spender” as background music in the ads critical of travel expenses by Derby during her 18 years as a state university-college system regent, but the ads were produced anyway.

Heller spokesman Stewart Bybee said the ad produced by Weeks & Co. LLP of Austin, Tex., is “entirely lawful,” and the song in the ad is “a clear spoof” that can’t be mistaken for the original song.

Derby spokeswoman Kristen Cullen questioned why a request to use the music was made in the first place if there was no problem in using it without permission.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)