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Lee writes: "The musician claims that Rockin' in the Free World and Devil's Sidewalk were played at the president's recent rally in Tulsa without a license. Both songs have also been used before by the campaign."

Neil Young. (photo: Getty)
Neil Young. (photo: Getty)


Neil Young Sues Donald Trump Campaign for Using His Music

By Benjamin Lee, Guardian UK

06 August 20


Musician files lawsuit against the president for copyright infringement after Rockin’ in the Free World and Devil’s Sidewalk were played at a rally

eil Young is suing Donald Trump’s campaign for alleged illegal usage of his music at a rally.

The musician claims that Rockin’ in the Free World and Devil’s Sidewalk were played at the president’s recent rally in Tulsa without a license. Both songs have also been used before by the campaign.

“This complaint is not intended to disrespect the rights and opinions of American citizens, who are free to support the candidate of their choosing,” reads the copyright infringement complaint filed in New York federal court. “However, Plaintiff in good conscience cannot allow his music to be used as a ‘theme song’ for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate.”

Young posted details of the lawsuit on his official site which details the singer “continuously and publicly” objecting to his music being used by Trump going back to 2015. “The Campaign has willfully ignored Plaintiff’s telling it not to play the songs and willfully proceeded to play the songs despite a lack of license,” it reads.

Young’s lawyers are asking for statutory damages in the maximum amount allowed for copyright infringement.

Last month, Young published a blogpost criticising the president for using his music and for his recent actions. “Imaging what it feels like to hear Rockin’ in the Free World after this president speaks, like it is his theme song,” he wrote. ‘I did not write it for that.”

The move follows a recent open letter by artists including Mick Jagger and Lorde that asked for political parties to be more vigilant in obtaining the rights to songs played at rallies and in commercials. “This is the only way to effectively protect your candidates from legal risk, unnecessary public controversy, and the moral quagmire that comes from falsely claiming or implying an artist’s support or distorting an artists’ expression in such a high stakes public way,” the letter read.

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