R.E.M., Green Day Sign Open Letter Against Unauthorized Use of Music by Politicians
Signees demand "clear policies requiring campaigns to seek consent" for their songs to be played
Published Jul 28, 2020The list of bands and artists who have taken Donald Trump to task over unauthorized use of their songs at campaign events is a lengthy one, and acts including R.E.M., Green Day, Lorde and Blondie are calling for policy that requires politicians to ask permission to use their work.
The Artist Rights Alliance (ARA) has shared an open letter demanding U.S. political committees "establish clear policies requiring campaigns to seek consent of featured recording artists, songwriters, and copyright owners before publicly using their music in a political or campaign setting."
Signees of the letter include Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Aerosmith's Joe Perry and Steven Tyler, Pearl Jam, Courtney Love, Elvis Costello, Lykke Li, Jason Isbell, Sheryl Crow, Fall Out Boy, Patrick Carney, and Sia.
"We've seen so many artists and estates dragged into politics against their will and forced to take aggressive action to prohibit the use of their music — usually songs that are broadcast during political rallies," the ARA writes. "It can confuse and disappoint fans and even undermine an artists' long term income — and mostly it's just not right. Politicians that want to represent the public trust must do better — by seeking consent before exploiting an artist's or songwriter's image and work."
The letter, which can be read in full here, calls on the Republican and Democratic National, Congressional and Senatorial committees to "only support candidates that establish clear procedures for getting consent from songwriters and performers before using their music."
"This is not a new problem. Or a partisan one," the letter reads, pointing out the legal risks and social issues that come with music use in campaign events. "Every election cycle brings stories of artists and songwriters frustrated to find their work being used in settings that suggest endorsement or support of political candidates without their permission or consent."
ARA adds, "Many of these artists have spent a lifetime making music that we all know and love. At the very least, it should be their choice as to whether or not it's used in this way — especially in these hyper partisan times."
Just over a month ago, Donald Trump used Panic! At the Disco's "High Hopes" at a rally event, leading frontman Brendon Urie to give him a big "fuck you." More recently, Neil Young has pondered taking legal action over Trump's continued use of "Rockin' in the Free World."