The Canadian-American singer, songwriter, and activist, Neil Young, has quite recently sued President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign alleging Copyright Infringement over the use of two of his songs at Trump’s political events and rallies.
The complaint is filed in the Southern District of New York and is also posted on the artist’s official website. Young’s lawyers have mentioned that the complaint filed has no intentions of disrespecting the opinions and rights of the American citizens, who are completely free to support the candidate of their choice; however, Neil Young, in good conscience, can’t permit his music to be used as a theme song for an un-American and divisive campaign of hate and ignorance.
The copyright infringement complaint filed specifies that Trump’s reelection campaign has repeatedly played Neil Young’s two songs, namely “Devil’s Sidewalk” and “Rockin’ in the Free World” at various rallies without seeking the artist’s permission. The songs were also played at a rally on 20th June 2020 in Tulsa Oklahoma, which drew a lot of criticism for taking place amidst the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As per various reports, this isn’t the first time when Neil Young is opposing the use of his songs in the President’s campaigns. In the complaint filed, Young’s lawyers have written that the artist has levied public objections on the President’s campaigns ever since his song was played for the first time on 16th June 2015 during the announcement of Trump’s presidential candidacy.
In 2016, Young had mentioned in a statement that he would have appreciated Trump’s campaign to seek permission before using and playing his songs at the rallies. On the other hand, the campaign had issued a statement saying that it did obtain a license for the same. Coming to the present case, Young’s lawyers have said that Trump’s campaign has willfully ignored all requests put forward by the artist corresponding to stop playing his songs despite being well aware of the fact that obtaining a license is necessary.
Young is now seeking as much as $150,000 for each instance of copyright infringement and asking Trump’s campaigns not to use and play his songs ever again.