Neil Young sues Donald Trump over use of songs in ‘campaign of ignorance and hate’
06 Aug 2020
Neil Young performs at Harvest Moon in Lake Hughes, California. AFP
Neil Young has sued Donald Trump for copyright infringement over the use of two of his songs in what the artist calls a “campaign of ignorance and hate”.
Young shared a copy of the lawsuit on his website on Tuesday. Court records show that the suit was filed that day in the Southern District of New York.
The musician is named as the plaintiff in the lawsuit. The main defendant is identified as Donald J Trump for President, Inc, Trump’s campaign committee. Five other unnamed defendants are also mentioned.
“This complaint is not intended to disrespect the rights and opinions of American citizens, who are free to support the candidate of their choosing,” the complaint reads in part.
“However, [Young] 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 singles out two of Young’s songs: “Rockin’ In the Free World” and “Devil’s Sidewalk”, alleging that both have been played “numerous times at rallies and political events for the entertainment and amusement of those attending those rallies and political events”.
Both songs, notably, were played during Trump’s June rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the filing alleges.
“The campaign does not now have, and did not at the time of the Tulsa rally, have a license or [Young’s] permission to play the two songs at any public political event,” the complaint reads.
Young is asking for statutory damages and is seeking to bar Trump from using any of his songs in the future.
This isn’t the first time Young has spoken out against Trump’s use of his music.
Last month, the musician said in another updated on his website that he was reconsidering his previous decision not to sue the president. He attributed this possible change to Trump’s treatment of protesters in the US.