Neil Young sues Donald Trump campaign over unauthorized song usage
UPDATE: Pitchfork reports that the lawsuit against the Trump Campaign has been filed in a New York federal court as of today, Tuesday 8/4.
Despite Donald Trump's unauthorized usage of his music at campaign events, Neil Young previously said that he wouldn't sue Trump, saying, "because you are in charge of the COVID-19 response here in the USA, I will not sue (as certainly is my right) potentially distracting from your important work at hand protecting and saving American lives." He had a change of heart last week, however, and has now posted a lawsuit against the president's campaign on his Neil Young Archives site.
"This is a suit for copyright infringement under Title 17 of the United States Code," it reads. "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 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 two Songs [‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ and ‘Devil’s Sidewalk’] at any public political event," it continues
The Trump campaign has “willfully ignored [Young] 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," the suit continues.
Neil seeks “statutory damages in the maximum amount allowed for willful copyright infringement,” the suit reads.
A representative for Young did not confirm to Rolling Stone that the lawsuit has been filed yet.
Neil was one of many artists who recently signed an open letter demanding politicians get clearance before using artist's songs at campaign events.
He also recently shared an updated, anti-Trump version of "Lookin' For a Leader."