NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Canadian-American singer-songwriter Neil Young has prepared a lawsuit against the presidential campaign of Donald Trump for the use of Young’s music at campaign events.
It is unclear if the complaint, which was posted on Neil Young’s website on Tuesday, has been filed in court. The complaint appears to be incomplete and does not include a case number.
In the complaint, Young alleges that the Trump campaign continues to use Young’s music, including “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Devil’s Sidewalk” at campaign events, despite Young’s repeated requests to the contrary.
Young alleges that the campaign does not have a license to play the music at public events, and that the continued use of his music at campaign rallies, including at an event in Tulsa several weeks ago constitutes copyright infringement.
Through the suit, Young is seeking “statutory damages in the maximum amount allowed for willful copyright infringement” which could be as much as $150,000 per violation, as well as legal fees and whatever other relief the court sees fit to provide.
It is unclear how firm the legal ground Young and his legal team stand on. The campaign may have obtained a license from BMI or may have been relying on the blanket licenses obtained by most major music venues.
However, according to ASCAP, those licenses generally exclude rights to perform music at events organized by a third party, requiring political campaigns to secure their own licensing from a PRO.
Even with a blanket license, ASCAP noted that a campaign may be exposed to legal action over an artists right to control their publicity in many states and federally, under the Lanham Act, which covers confusion or dilution of a trademark and via false endorsement.
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.