Neil Young sues Trump campaign

NEW YORK • Neil Young sued United States President Donald Trump's re-election campaign on Tuesday, accusing it of copyright infringement for playing the rocker's songs without permission.

In a complaint filed in the US District Court in Manhattan, Young objected to the playing of Rockin' In The Free World and Devil's Sidewalk numerous times at rallies and political events, including a June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Young, 74, said he has complained about Mr Trump's use of his songs since 2015 and that the campaign has "wilfully" ignored him despite lacking a licence.

He had also objected when Mr Trump played his music while visiting Mount Rushmore on July 3.

"This complaint is not intended to disrespect the rights and opinions of American citizens, who are free to support the candidate of their choosing," Young's lawyers said in the complaint. "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."

Young is seeking damages of up to US$150,000 (S$205,600) an infringement.

It is common for musicians to oppose politicians' alleged unauthorised use or invocation of their music.

Last month, dozens of artists, including Aerosmith, Green Day, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Elton John, Linkin Park, Lorde and Sia, joined an open letter calling on US politicians to obtain permission before playing their music at campaign and political events.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2020, with the headline 'Neil Young sues Trump campaign'. Print Edition | Subscribe