Neil Young Drops Copyright Lawsuit Against Trump Campaign

Rocker had sued over two of his songs being played at a campaign rally

Last Updated: December 7, 2020 @ 7:00 PM

Neil Young has dropped his lawsuit against Donald Trump’s re-election campaign after he sued them earlier this year for playing two of his songs at a campaign rally without his permission.

According to court documents, Young filed for the dismissal on Monday. The case is dismissed with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled.

Young originally sued President Trump’s re-election campaign in August for copyright infringement, citing the playing of two of his songs during a June rally in Oklahoma. The rocker said the campaign used “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Devil’s Sidewalk” without the appropriate license.

The campaign also used “Like a Hurricane,” “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Cowgirl in the Sand” at an Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore, which prompted Young to tweet, “This is NOT ok with me.”

Over the past few years, numerous artists came out strongly against the use of their songs during political rallies and campaign events — particularly when by the Trump campaign — by sending cease and desist letters or publicly denouncing the use of their songs at these events. In July, Linkin Park said on Twitter that it had sent the Trump campaign a cease and desist to prevent the usage of any of the band’s music at campaign events. In June, the family of Tom Petty also sent a cease and desist to the Trump campaign for using Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” during the same Tulsa rally Young sued over.

Following the Tulsa event, the Rolling Stones partnered with the publishing rights organization Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) to stop Trump and his campaign from using the band’s song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” at rallies.

Fall Out Boy, Mick Jagger, Lorde and 54 other prominent music artists signed an open letter at the end of July demanding that political candidates seek “consent” from artists and songwriters before using their songs in a campaign setting.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.