Legendary musician Neil Young will be taking legal action against the Donald Trump campaign, saying they had not received the license to play his hit songs "Rockin' in the Free World" and "Devil's Sidewalk" at a campaign rally in Tulsa.
On August 4, Tuesday, Neil Young had filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Donald Trump campaign for playing songs without the proper permission and license at Trump's campaign rallies
The complaint was filed in New York federal court and reads: "This complaint is not supposed to disrespect the rights and opinions of American citizens, who are free to support the candidate of their choice. However, the 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."
Neil Young claims that this is not the first time the Donald Trump campaign has used his work. He stated that the campaign had used his music for years for his campaign. Donald Trump had first used to Young's sold "Rockin' in the Free World" to announce his presidential candidacy. The latest use of his song was in Trump's most recent campaign rally in Tusla, Oklahoma, back on June 20.
With that, Neil Young has been considering taking legal action against Trump since his first presidential campaign but opted not to after being told that the said campaign had obtained a license agreement with the American Society of Composer, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) to and BMI Music License play the song.
However, there has been a rise of musicians speaking out on their using being used for political campaigns, performance rights organization began allowing musicians to exclude their music for political use, including rallies. With that, ASCAP and BMI have informed political candidates that their licenses could not cover all claims made by the artist.
With that, Neil Young is now willing to take legal action against Donald Trump and his campaign for committing copyright infringements and demands the Trump campaign to cease playing his songs for political use. Additionally, Neil Young, represented by Rober Besser, is demanding statutory damages.
During the 2016 Presidental Elections, Neil Young was fiercely supportive of Bernie Sanders, maintaining his support despite Hillary Clinton's lead in the Democratic nomination. He had stated that he was the only one talking about the issues that mattered, such as problems on corporate control of democracy. Despite his passion for the presidential elections, he chose to retain his Canadian citizenship and did not participate in the votings. He stated that he is still Canadian, but will still keep on talking about politics through his words and music.
In 2020, he was granted American citizenship and is now a dual citizen of both Canada and the United States.