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Rolling Stones Will Sue Donald Trump Unless He Leaves Their Songs Alone

— June 30, 2020

President Trump keeps using “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” at campaign rallies–and The Rolling Stones don’t want him anywhere near their music.

The Rolling Stones have threatened to sue President Donald Trump for licensing infringement unless his re-election campaign stops using the band’s songs at rallies and other events.

The Associated Press reports that the Rolling Stones announced their decision Sunday. In it, the Stones said they were working with BMI, a music rights organization, to prevent the president from using their material.

“The BMI have notified the Trump campaign on behalf of the Stones that the unauthorized use of their songs will constitute a breach of its licensing agreement,” the band said in a statement. “If Donald Trump disregards the exclusion and persists, then he would face a lawsuit for breaking the embargo and playing music that has not been licensed.”

According to The A.P., the Rolling Stones have been complaining about the Trump campaign’s use of their music for years. In 2016, for instance, the band protested the repeat inclusion of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” at Trump events.

The Rolling Stones in 2018. Image via Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/user:Raph_PH. (CCA-BY-2.0).

That song—a 1969 hit that remains popular today—was played at many Trump campaign events in 2016.

More recently, says The Associated Press, Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign played the hit piece at a recent rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma—a rally that attracted significant news coverage for its lack of social distancing rules at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

BMI, adds, sells licenses to venues. A BMI license-holder has access to “more than 15 million songs,” which can be played at any number of events.

However, artists are allowed to ask the BMI to prevent their tracks from being played at certain political events. And with the Stones demanding that Trump stop using their music, the president’s campaign could lose its BMI license unless it complies.

Other artists have voiced similar complaints.

The family of the late Tom Petty, for example, sent the Trump campaign a cease-and-desist letter for its use of the song “I Won’t Back Down” at a June rally in Tulsa.

“Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” Petty’s family said in a statement. “Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind. Tom Petty would never want a song of his to be used in a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”

Neil Young has also demanded that Trump stop playing his music at events, noting that he has admonished the president for the unauthorized use of “Rockin’ in the Free World” multiple times.


Rolling Stones threaten to sue Trump for using their songs at rallies

Rolling Stones threaten to sue Donald Trump over use of songs

Rolling Stones threaten to sue Trump over using their songs

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