Page last updated at 15:03 GMT, Sunday, 7 September 2008 16:03 UK

Heart sisters' Palin song anger

Ann and Nancy Wilson
Ann and Nancy Wilson said they would refuse permission to use the song

Rock band Heart have called in lawyers after US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin used their track Barracuda at a Republican Party rally.

Singers Ann and Nancy Wilson said a cease-and-desist letter had been sent to the party asking it not to use the song, a US hit in 1977.

"The Republican campaign did not ask for permission, nor would they have been granted permission," they said.

But the party said it had obtained the necessary licences to play the song.

John McCain's running-mate used the track for her appearance at the Republican National Convention in St Paul, Minnesota on 3 September. She was nicknamed "Sarah Barracuda" while playing basketball at high school.

Sarah Palin
The track was played to introduce Sarah Palin at the party convention
"The McCain campaign respects intellectual property rights," spokesman Brian Rogers told Reuters news agency.

"Accordingly, prior to using Barracuda at any events, we paid for and obtained all necessary licences."

Under US copyright law, the song is licensed for public performance under a blanket fee paid by the convention's venue.

But one of Barracuda's co-writers, former Heart guitarist Roger Fisher, said he was "thrilled" with the "ingenious placement of a kick-ass song".

However, he later told Reuters that he supported the Democratic ticket and would be donating some of the royalties to Barack Obama's campaign.

"With my contribution to Obama's campaign, the Republicans are now supporting Obama," he said.

Last month, Jackson Browne took legal action against the Republicans over their use of his song Running On Empty in a McCain campaign advertisement.

Heart released their debut album, Dreamboat Annie, in 1975, but scored their biggest successes in the mid-1980s with power ballads such as Alone and These Dreams.

Following line-up changes, the Wilson sisters have returned to their hard rock roots and continue to tour.

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