Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Neil Young to Donald Trump: Stop Rockin'

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Neil Young to Donald Trump: Stop Rockin'

Article excerpt

Less than a day after launching his presidential campaign, Donald Trump may already be hitting the wrong notes.

Mr. Trump announced his candidacy Tuesday to the sound of Neil Young's 1989 hit "Rockin' in the Free World," but Trump had no permission to use the song, said Elliot Roberts, Mr. Young's manager. The incident makes the real estate tycoon the latest candidate to butt heads with a musician about song copyright in a campaign.

"Donald Trump was not authorized to use 'Rockin' in the Free World,' " Mr. Roberts said in a statement. "Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of [US senator and Democratic candidate] Bernie Sanders for president of the United States of America."

A campaign spokesperson said that Trump, a fan of Young's music despite their differing views, used the song legally through a licensing deal with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), a performance rights group, Rolling Stone reported.

But ASCAP noted that in some cases, using a song for political purposes requires a campaign to reach out to the song's publisher and the artist's record label.

"The laws are complicated," The Washington Post's Emily Heil wrote. "It may be okay to use a song in one setting, like a convention center, but taboo in another. How much of the song they use also could be an issue."

And even when a campaign does get copyright permission, artists can still object to the use of their music under other laws that protect their brand or image, or ban implications of endorsement.

In this, Trump joins a string of politicians whose unauthorized song use has led to awkward headlines and, in some cases, legal action.

Former president George W. Bush used Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" during public appearances for his 2000 campaign - until the musician's publisher sent a cease and desist order that said the use of the song implied an endorsement that Mr. …

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