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Reggae Singer Eddy Grant Could Force Trump to Take the Stand in Copyright Infringement Case

— April 1, 2022

Grant claims that Trump never sought permission to use the hit song ‘Electric Avenue’ in a 2020 re-election advertisement.

Reggae singer Eddy Grant may have succeeded in forcing former President Donald Trump into a court-ordered deposition.

According to The Guardian, Grant filed a lawsuit against the former president and his re-election campaign over the use of the song ‘Electric Avenue’ in 2020.

In the advertisement, Grant’s song played over an animation of Joe Biden “traveling slowly in a handcar, after a Trump campaign train passes at high speed.”

Grant’s lawsuit notes that the advertisement has been viewed millions of times. However, the Trump campaign allegedly never sought permission to use the song, nor did it compensate Grant.

“As of 1 September 2020, the video had been viewed more than 13.7m times; the tweet containing the video had been ‘liked’ more than 350,00 times, re-tweeted more than 139,000 times, and had received nearly 50,000 comments,” the lawsuit states.

Grant’s complaint claims copyright infringement ands seeks an estimated $300,000 in damages.

Gavel resting on open book; image by verkeorg, via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, no changes.
Gavel resting on open book; image by verkeorg, via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, no changes.

Trump’s lawyers had earlier asked that the complaint be dismissed, saying their appropriation of ‘Electric Avenue’ could be construed as fair use.

They have also suggested that, since the advertisement could be considered satire, it is exempt from copyright law—and that Trump, as a former president, cannot be sued because of “presidential absolute immunity.”

However, the courts have refused to do away with the lawsuit, with Judge John Koeltl finding that the commander-in-chief has yet to supply any reasonable explanation for the alleged misconduct.

“Defendants have offered no justification for their extensive borrowing,” Koeltl wrote.

Now, Grant’s lawyers are asking that Trump be compelled to testify.

Attorneys for Grant have told Business Insider that they penned a letter to Koeltl, saying, “with consent from defendants Donald J. Trump and Donald J. Trump, Inc. […] to request a 60-day extension for the parties to complete discovery.”

While exchange of discovery documents has already concluded, the leter said that “additional time is needed to schedule and take the depositions of both parties.”

If the case is not settled in the relatively near future, Trump and Grant will both be deposed before June 21.

Trump, notes Business Insider, is notoriously averse to deposition: since his election in 2016, only one attorney has succeeded in compelling the former president to offer testimony.

Trump is also expected to take the stand in a lawsuit alleging that he promoted a multi-level marketing scheme.

Ironically, while Grant may get his day in court, state-level officials—including New York Attorney General Letitia James—have spent years trying to coerce Trump into providing testimony.


Donald Trump to be deposed over use of Eddy Grant hit ‘Electric Avenue’ in Biden-bashing tweet.

Donald Trump versus ‘Electric Avenue”s Eddy Grant

Trump may face day in court thanks to lawsuit from reggae singer Eddy Grant

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