The Rolling Stones are threatening Donald Trump with legal action for using their songs at his rallies despite cease-and-desist directives.
The Stones said in a statement on Sunday that their legal team was working with the music rights organisation BMI to stop the use of their material in Trump’s re-election campaign.
The BMI has notified the US president’s campaign on behalf of the group that the unauthorised use of their songs will constitute a breach of its licensing agreement, the statement said.
If Trump disregards the exclusion and persists, he will face a lawsuit for breaking the embargo and playing music that has not been licensed. The Stones had complained during Trump’s 2016 campaign about the use of their music to fire up his conservative base at rallies.
The 1969 classic You Can’t Always Get What You Want was a popular song for his events. It was played again at the close of Trump’s recent rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, an indoor event criticised for its potential to spread the coronavirus.
Other musicians and their representatives have also complained about having their music associated with Trump’s events. The family of the late Tom Petty said it had issued a cease-and-desist order after his song I Won’t Back Down was used in Tulsa.
“Trump was in no way authorised to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,’’ the statement said. “Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind. Tom Petty would never want a song of his to be used in a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.’’
Neil Young admonished Trump in 2018 after hearing one of his songs played against his wishes during the president’s pre-midterm campaign rallies. Trump used his 1990 single, Rockin’ in the Free World, despite earlier warnings.