Neil Young Sues Donald Trump Campaign Over Unauthorized Use of His Music

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Young writes that he is not going to let his music be the “‘theme song’ for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate”

Neil Young
Neil Young, February 2015 (Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

Neil Young is suing Donald Trump’s presidential marketing campaign, in accordance with The Hollywood Reporter. Online data (considered by Pitchfork) present that the lawsuit was filed right this moment (August 4) in a New York federal courtroom.

As Rolling Stone notes, Neil Young posted a replica of his lawsuit on the Neil Young Archives. The copyright infringement lawsuit issues the Trump marketing campaign’s use of “Rockin’ in the Free World” and Greendale’s “Devil’s Sidewalk” at rallies and political occasions.

“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 lawsuit posted to NYA reads. “However, Plaintiff [Neil Young dba Silver Fiddle Music] in good conscience cannot allow his music to be used as a ‘theme song’ for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate.”

According to the criticism:

The Campaign [Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.] has publicly performed
each “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Devil’s Sidewalk” quite a few instances
at rallies and political occasions for the leisure and amusement of
these attending these rallies and political occasions. The Campaign
performed each Songs at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20, 2020.

The Campaign doesn’t now have, and didn’t on the time of the Tulsa
rally, have a license or Plaintiff’s permission to play the 2 Songs
at any public political occasion.

Young’s lawsuit additionally states, “The Campaign has willfully ignored Plaintiff’s telling it not to play the Songs and willfully proceeded to play the Songs despite its lack of a license and despite its knowledge that a license is required to do so.”

In addition to damages, Neil Young is asking that the Trump marketing campaign “be enjoined primarily and permanently from publicly performing the Songs—or any musical compositions owned by Plaintiff—and from causing or permitting the Songs to be publicly performed at public events conducted, controlled, managed, supervised, or arranged for by the Campaign and/or aiding or abetting the public performance of the Songs in any such place.”

Pitchfork has reached out to Neil Young’s attorneys, in addition to representatives for the Trump marketing campaign, for remark and extra info.

Neil Young has repeatedly objected to Donald Trump’s use of his music—most notably “Rockin’ in the Free World.” After Trump performed the music at a current marketing campaign occasion at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, Young tweeted, “This is NOT ok with me,” and, “I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux.”

Back in 2015, when Trump was first operating for president, Neil Young’s administration firm stated that “Trump was not authorized to use ‘Rockin’ in the Free World.’”

Read “Musicians Might Be Able to Finally Stop Trump From Using Their Songs” on the Pitch.



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