NEW YORK – Neil Young on Tuesday sued President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign for copyright infringement, saying he did not want his music to be used as the theme song for a “non-US campaign to divide” ignorance and hatred ”.
The Grammy Award-winning Canadian-born musician has filed a lawsuit through his attorneys in Manhattan federal court, seeking up to $ 150,000 in statutory damages for each violation.
A message requesting comment was left with a campaign spokesperson.
The legendary singer cited the repeated use of two songs: “Rockin ‘in the Free World” and “Devil’s Sidewalk”.
The campaign has used the airs numerous times at rallies and political events, most notably on June 20 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, according to the lawsuit.
Young said he is not suing for “disrespecting the rights and opinions of American citizens, who are free to support any candidate they choose,” the lawsuit said.
“However,” he added, “the conscientious claimant cannot allow his music to be used as a ‘theme song’ for a non-American campaign of ignorance and divisive hate. ”
Young first complained about the use of the 1990 single, “Rockin ‘in the Free World,” in June 2015, when the song accompanied Trump’s announcement of his presidential campaign, according to the lawsuit.
The campaign’s insistence in a statement that she had been granted permission to use the music only proved she was aware that she needed permission, according to the lawsuit.
He said Young had expressed public and continuing objections to the use of music.
“The campaign willfully ignored the plaintiff telling him not to play the songs and deliberately proceeded to play the songs despite his lack of license,” according to the lawsuit.
New York attorney Ivan Saperstein, who filed the lawsuit on Young’s behalf with attorney Robert S. Besser of Santa Monica, Calif., Declined to comment.
On July 3, Young filed a lawsuit on the “Neil Young Archives” website, where a copy of Tuesday’s trial was also posted, after Trump visited Mount Rushmore for an event.
“I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux and that does not suit me,” he said in support of more than 100 protesters who forced the closure of a road leading to the monument.
He complained after “Like a Hurricane” and other songs were played when Trump visited the site.
“Imagine what it feels like to hear ‘Rockin’ in the Free World ‘after this president speaks, like it’s his theme song,” Young said on the website. “I didn’t write it for that. ”
Other artists have also complained after their songs were performed at the Trump events.
In June, the Rolling Stones threatened to sue after the 1969 classic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was played at Trump’s rally in Oklahoma, where critics said the indoor event threatened to spread the coronavirus.
The family of the late rock musician Tom Petty said they issued a cease and desist order after Trump used the song “I Won’t Back Down?” in Tulsa.
“Trump was in no way allowed to use this song to advance a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind ,? said the statement.
Associate Press Editor Jonathan Lemire contributed to this story.
Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press