Leonard Cohen’s estate have issued a statement, along with music publisher Sony, regarding the unauthorized use of the late singer’s song “Hallelujah” at the Republican National Convention.
The song was used without permission during two performances, says the estate, and as a result Cohen’s estate is exploring legal action.
“We are surprised and dismayed that the RNC would proceed knowing that the Cohen Estate had specifically declined the RNC’s use request, and their rather brazen attempt to politicize and exploit in such an egregious manner “Hallelujah,” one of the most important songs in the Cohen song catalogue,” wrote Michelle L. Rice, legal representative of the Cohen estate, in a statement. “We are exploring our legal options.”
She went on to note, “Had the RNC requested another song, ‘You Want it Darker’, for which Leonard won a posthumous Grammy in 2017, we might have considered approval of that song.”
Brian J. Monaco, president global chief marketing officer at Sony and ATV Music Publishing, also issued a statement. “On the eve of the finale of the convention, representatives from the Republican National Committee contacted us regarding obtaining permission for a live performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. We declined their request.”
This is not the first time that the Republican party has been criticized for unauthorized music use. Last June, the Trump campaign was called out by Tom Petty’s family for having used “I Won’t Back Down” at the President’s campaign rally, without receiving legal permission to do so.
That same month, the Rolling Stones threatened to sue Trump over the use of their songs, such as “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” at his campaign rallies.
Before Trump was a political candidate, he was slammed by REM for using their song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” at a rally.