Queen Not Happy Donald Trump Used Its Music Again
In early June, Brian May said the band's music was not for "political use."
CLEVELAND – Queen is not happy with Donald Trump after he defied the rock band's request to not use its music at his political events.
Queen was blaring when the presumptive GOP presidential nominee came out on stage Monday to introduce his wife for her speech during the opening night of the Republican National Convention.
Out of the shadows and smoke, almost like TV entrance, Trump appeared on stage to Queen's "We Are the Champions."
The band was not pleased.
"An unauthorised use at the Republican Convention against our wishes - Queen," the band tweeted Tuesday on its verified account.
An unauthorised use at the Republican Convention against our wishes - Queen— Queen (@QueenWillRock) July 19, 2016
The billionaire businessman previously used that same Queen track during rallies while stumping on the campaign trail.
In early June, Brian May said in a statement that the band's music was not for political events:
"This is not an official Queen statement, but I can confirm that permission to use the track was neither sought nor given. We are taking advice on what steps we can take to ensure this use does not continue. Regardless of our views on Mr Trump’s platform, it has always been against our policy to allow Queen music to be used as a political campaigning tool. Our music embodies our own dreams and beliefs, but it is for all who care to listen and enjoy."
Bands not wanting their music to be used by politicians is nothing new.
Jackson Browne sued in 2008 after John McCain’s presidential campaign used “Running on Empty” in a campaign commercial. The lawsuit was settled with the Republican National Committee pledging then that copyrights would be respected.
Since then, Republican presidential candidates have routinely received copyright complaints. Some examples: The rapper K’naan sent a cease-and-desist to Mitt Romney in 2012. Survivor guitarist Frankie Sullivan sued Newt Gingrich in 2012 and Mike Huckabee last year.
Ted Cruz is also currently facing a copyright lawsuit.
Donald Trump himself has taken cease and desist letters from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, and many others.
Despite the complaints, a blanket license from ASCAP usually allows the performance of copyrighted music without any special permission — something that Neil Young acknowledged after making his own complaint against Donald Trump’s use of “Rockin’ in the Free World" last year. Some lawyers have asserted that use of someone’s music also implies an endorsement and so politicians do need explicit permission, though that’s a grey area.
A public performance license from ASCAP wouldn’t immunize Trump or the RNC from potentially facing a claim over a pre-1972 sound recording, one authored before such works fell under federal copyright. The first song played at this year’s RNC Convention was “Happy Together” by The Turtles, who are in the midst of litigation against Sirius XM across the nation for performing their music. After their song was played, a tweet by a member of the group stated, “We never approved this use. Now we call the lawyers."