Long before Donald Trump's political career began, politicians used music in their campaign rallies against the wishes of artists: In 2015, Rolling Stone compiled a list of 35 of them, many of which were given by John McCain / Sarah Palin from 2008. However, artists' protests seem to have some effect, especially against the current administration: Rolling Stones have issued more requests that Trump stop using their music during rallies and many other artists have complained.
Many of these, including those in the publishing industry, believe that the songs in question fall under global licenses issued to sites by performance rights organizations such as ASCAP and BMI, and many campaigns have acted under that hypothesis (if music is simply played at a rally, and not modified or used in promotional material by the campaign).
Rihanna and Guns N Roses, director Axl Rose, are the latest to complain about Trump's use of their music in rallies against their wishes, and Rose went so far as to accuse the campaign of "using gaps in performance licenses for different locations "without the consent of the composers. "
However, artists – at least artists of a certain level – have an appeal, says Dina LaPolt, a lawyer at Steve Tyler at Aerosmith, who managed to take out the artist's music from Trump's rallies and received a letter from the attorney this campaign.
After the Trump campaign used the 1993 Aerosmith hit Livin 'on the Edge, in a West Virgin rally in August, Tyler sent a letter of ceasing and disappearing through LaPolt to the White House accusing president of the deliberate violation of the play, which was written by Tyler, Joe Perry and Mark Hudson. LaPolt quoted the Lanham act, which prohibits "any false designation or misleading description or factual representation … which could cause confusion … regarding the affiliation, association or association of such a person with another person", the lawyer Tyler claims to interpret a song from Aerosmith in a public arena gives the false impression that Tyler approves of the Trump presidency. The Lanham Law has been of increasing importance in recent years, as the material from major political rallies is invariably posted on the Internet, increasing the implicit link between political figure and songs.
The issue has previously appeared with another song from Aerosmith, Dream On, which Trump used in the 2015 election campaign. Claiming that "President Trump needs written permission from the client to use his music," and that the campaign "violates Tyler's copyright", BMI has pulled public performance rights for the song.
Although Livin's on the Edge's public performance rights are managed by ASCAP, LaPolt says it was aware that the Trump's Trump's rights license expired in 2016 and directed ASCAP to exclude music from a renewed license; they did so. Thus, the Trump campaign used the unlicensed song and managed to get a letter from his lawyer, he had promised not to use Tyler's music at his rallies. So far, he has not done so since the August incident.
LaPolt notes that an artist does not have to wait for a campaign license to expire to take action, arguing that the Lanham Act should be strong enough.
"If you are directing a PRO to retain licenses for their authors, especially if the writer is large enough, they will do it," says LaPolt.
Another simplest option is that an artist simply informs the organization of the rights of interpretation that they want to exclude some or all of their works from using them through specific political campaigns. Due to the gap in the blanket license (and the fact that not all political meetings take place at licensed sites), about 10 years ago, ASCAP performance rights organizations and BMI created a license for the political entities that specifically address these issues, and includes a provision to exclude certain songs from the license if an author so desires. A representative for BMI said to variety, "BMI … The license for political entities … covers the use of music at political campaign events wherever it happens, and contains a provision that if a composer or an IMC editor objects to the use of a song, we have the opportunity to excludes that license item. "
The PROS would then inform the political campaign about the artist's request to remove the song from the license, and that this campaign risks invoking complaints if it continues to play the song.
A source says variety that they are not aware of the need for action in this regard.