Neil Young reacts angrily to Donald Trump's use of his music
(Credit: Gage Skidmore / Tore Sætre)

Neil Young threatens legal action against Donald Trump

Neil Young has threatened to sue US President Donald amid unauthorised use of his music.

As part of a speech at Mount Rushmore, Donald Trump used Neil Young’s song ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ among a few others from the singer-songwriter. Young initially reacted with a Tweet in response to the infringement but has revealed his plans to take things a step further.

While the situation has been ongoing for some times, Young previously claimed that would not take Trump to court in a bit to avoid “potentially distracting from young important work at hand protecting and saving American lives” during the current pandemic health crisis.

Young, taking to his archives website to voice his position, has criticised Trump for the repeated usage of his work and said: “I am reconsidering” legal against Trump, adding: “Imagine what it feels like to hear ‘Rockin’ in the Freed World’ after this President speaks, like it is his theme song. I did not write it for that.”

The lenghty statement continues as Young added: “He order this himself. This is all DJT. He told them to wear camouflage, use unmarked vehicles to take people away, innocent people peacefully protesting — their constitutional rights as US citizens.

“Trump has no respect for our military. They are not to be used on the streets of America against law abiding citizens for a Political charade orchestrated by a challenged President. It’s a complete disgrace, the way he plays citizens against one another for his own political gain, saying that only cities run by democrats are in trouble and need help. Those elected leaders asked him not to intervene.

“The elected representatives in all these cities and states are against Trump’s military thugs shooting people on the streets. Our military is against it. That is not their sacred mission.”

Discussing the United States’ failure to respond adequately to the pandemic, Young added: “When the states asked for help with COVID-19, the president did not give it. He said he’s not responsible. When they said don’t bring military to our streets — we don’t need that, he did it anyway for his own political reasons — not for America. This rogue president is creating a much worse problem with his street thug army of uniformed hatred.”

Young’s opposition of the use of his music arrives shortly after The Rolling Stones were forced to threaten legal action against US President Donal Trump.

The move comes after a statement was issued by the performing rights organisation BMI who have insisted that Trump’s political campaign stop using music by The Rolling Stones as part of their official campaign events and rallies.

“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,” a statement reads.

Discussing a potential lawsuit, a BMI spokesperson told Deadline that Trump’s campaign has legal access to more than 15 million musical works in their archive under the Political Entities License. However, this particular license states that BMI have the right “to exclude musical works from the license if a songwriter or publisher objects to its use by a campaign.” Needless to say, The Rolling Stones object.

The statement continued: “BMI has received such an objection and sent a letter notifying the Trump campaign that The Rolling Stones’ works have been removed from the campaign license, and advising the campaign that any future use of these musical compositions will be in breach of its license agreement with BMI.”

Young and The Rolling Stones are now part of a growing list of musicians to voice their disapproval. The threat of legal action comes just days after the family of the late Tom Petty issued a cease and desist letter to the political campaign of Donald Trump.

The move comes after Trump’s campaign used Petty song ‘I Won’t Back Down’ during a recent rally held in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“Trump was in no way authorised to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” the Petty family said in a statement.

“Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind,” they added. “Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”

Adding: “Tom wrote this song for the underdog, for the common man and for everyone. We want to make it clear that we believe everyone is free to vote as they like, think as they like, but the Petty family doesn’t stand for this. We believe in America and we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideals of either.

“We would hate for fans that are marginalized by this administration to think we were complicit in this usage. Concurrently, we have issued a cease and desist notice to the Trump campaign.”

See the full statement, below.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Delivering curated content