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Neil Young Sues Trump Campaign Over Use of Songs at Tulsa Rally

Neil Young accuses the campaign of playing ”Rockin’ in the Free World“ and ”Devil’s Sidewalk“ without the appropriate license

Neil Young sued President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign for copyright infringement Tuesday, citing the playing of two of his songs during a June rally in Tulsa, Okla.

The complaint, filed in New York federal court, accuses the campaign of playing “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Devil’s Sidewalk” without the appropriate license.

“This complaint is not intended to disrespect the rights and opinions of American citizens, who are free to support the candidate of their choosing,” says a copy of the complaint in Young’s archives.

It goes on, “However, Plaintiff in good conscience cannot allow his music to be used as a ‘theme song’ for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate.”

A representative for the campaign didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

This isn’t the first time the rock legend has expressed discomfort with Trump’s use of his material and Young is hardly the first artist to go after Trump and his campaign for use of songs.

Over the past few years, numerous artists have come out strongly against the use of their songs during political rallies and campaign events — particularly when it comes to 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 Tulsa rally.

Also 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.

“This is the only way to effectively protect your candidates from legal risk, unnecessary public controversy, and the moral quagmire that comes from falsely claiming or implying an artist’s support or distorting an artists’ expression in such a high stakes public way,” the letter, which was also signed by Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Lionel Richie, Sia and Courtney Love, said.