On Tuesday the legendary musician Neil Young filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Trump campaign. The lawsuit was brought because the campaign used Young’s songs at campaign rallies without his permission.
“This complaint is not intended to disrespect the rights and opinions of American citizens, who are free to support the candidate of their choosing,” the complaint reads. The lawsuit was 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’s lawsuit alleges that Trump’s campaign lacks a license to publicly perform the compositions entitled “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Devil’s Sidewalk.” Neil also notes that Trump used his music for years dating back to his 2016 campaign and both songs were played at his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma back on June 20.
Young did not file the suit spur of the moment he mulled it over for a long time. It’s something that he has considered since Trump’s 2016 campaign. He changed his mind then, but then after being informed that the campaign venues had obtained public performance licenses from ASCAP and BMI he decided it was time to take a stand.
Today, ASCAP and BMI warn candidates that a performance license might not cover all claims by a musician.
Young says he is now taking a stand and testing the waters to see if Trump and his campaign have committed copyright infringement. He demands that Trump cease playing his music at his events. Young is also seeking statutory damages.