Neil Young Sues Trump Campaign For Using Songs At Rallies

Neil Young has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against President Donald Trump‘s campaign for using his songs “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Devil’s Sidewalk,” at campaign rallies.

Young said last week he was “reconsidering” suing Trump after previously indicating he wouldn’t sue the President because he didn’t want to distract the government as it is busy working to curb coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday (August 4) in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York claims Trump’s campaign used Young’s music “as a ‘theme song.'”

Young says the campaign used his songs “for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate.” The complaint states that Trump’s campaign has willfully ignored his wishes to not play the songs and has proceeded to play them despite not having the required licenses, and despite knowing a license is required to play the songs.

The complaint further states that Trump’s campaign had played both of Young’s songs numerous times at rallies and political events. Trump did so without neither a license nor Young’s permission to play those two songs at any public political event, the lawsuit notes.

“The complaint is not intended to disrespect the rights and opinions of American citizens, who are free to support the candidate of their choosing,” according to the complaint, but noted Young “in good conscience cannot allow his music to be used” in this way.

Ivan Saperstein of Silverstein & Saperstein and Robert Besser are representing Young, who says Trump’s campaign should stop from publicly performing those songs, as well as any other Neil Young songs, and demands statutory damages between $750-$150,000 for each infringement, plus attorney fees.

The spat between Young and Trump began in June 2015, when Trump played “Rockin’ in the Free World” soon after announcing his intention to run for president. Young took objection to this, and then expressed his displeasure again after Trump played the song at a 2018 rally.

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