MORE ROCKIN’ IN THE FREE WORLD
In my last blog post (sorry it was two weeks ago, I was on vacation) I wrote about some tension between rock musicians and the Trump campaign. A lot of artists don’t want the campaign using their songs.
So while I was out on vacation, Neil Young filed a copyright infringement suit against the Trump Campaign. The complaint contends that the campaign played “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Devil’s Sidewalk” at rallies without Young’s permission. According to the complaint, Young “in good conscience cannot allow his music to be used as a ‘theme song’ for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate.”
As I noted in my previous blog post, the issue here is whether an artist can withdraw their songs from blanket license agreements provided by services such as BMI and ASCAP. Here’s a piece from the New York Times that lays out the issue very well.
I can see both sides here. On the one hand, I completely understand artists’ desire not to have their songs used by politicians they detest. But on the other hand, blanket licenses serve a purpose and they’re not really “blankets” if songs can be cherry picked away from them. This litigation might sort things out. And maybe on the upside, Neil will write a song about the whole experience.