Neil Young has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump for President campaign for their use of “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Devil’s Sidewalk” at various campaign events.
Young shared the lawsuit filing via his official website. The lawsuit document states, “This complaint is not intended to disrespect the rights and opinions of American citizens, who are free to support the candidate of their choosing. 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.”
The lawsuit points to the Trump campaign’s use of “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Devil’s Sidewalk” on multiple occasions, including the recent Trump campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla. on June 20 where both songs were played.
“The Campaign does not now have, and did not at the time of the Tulsa rally, have a license or Plaintiff’s permission to play the to Songs at any public political event,” the lawsuit reads.
The suit continues, “Plaintiff has continuously and publicly objected to the use by the Campaign of the Songs. The first such objection was in connection with Trump’s playing of ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ at his June 16, 2015, announcement that he was running for president. In response, the Campaign issued a statement stating that it had procured a license to do so, thus acknowledging that it knew a license is required. 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.”
Young is seeking the Trump Campaign to cease all use of his songs at future campaign events and other public appearances. He is also seeking that the Trump Campaign “be ordered to pay such statutory damages as to the Court shall appear just as specified in 17 U.S.C. §504(c)(1), that is not more than One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000.00) nor less than Seven Hundred Fifty Dollars ($750.00) for each infringement,” “That Defendants be ordered to pay Plaintiff his costs of suit herein, including reasonable attorney’s fees” and “For such other relief as the Court may deem just and equitable.”
The Trump Campaign has yet to comment publicly on Young’s lawsuit.