Imagine writing a song as badass as Rocking In The Free World only for it to get played at Trump rallies?
Music icon Neil Young has put his lawsuit against President Trump on hold to make sure that no attention is turned away from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Multiple times this year, Neil Young has criticised Trump for using his celebrated track Rockin’ In The Free World as his Presidental rally “theme song.” Can’t really fault him for that one.
Young has publically stated that he “did not write [the song] for that” purpose and that the President didn’t ask for any permission before blasting it at it his rallies. Over 20 high-profile musicians and bands gaining airtime at Trump 2020 events have also spoken out. The Rolling Stones have threatened with a lawsuit and Panic At The Disco!’s Brendan Urie even tweeted the following:
Dear Trump Campaign,
Fuck you. You’re not invited. Stop playing my song.
Brendon Urie, Panic! At The Disco & company.
— Brendon Urie (@brendonurie) June 24, 2020
However, the Trump campaign are legally allowed to use these songs under certain provisos. Intellectual property lawyer Danwill Schwender breaks the complicated process down in his 2017 essay The Copyright Conflict Between Musicians and Political Campaigns Spins Around Again.
Neil Young had been gearing up to sue the US president but recently put all legal action on hold. “Because you are in charge of the Covid 19 response here in the USA, I will not sue you, potentially distracting from your important work at hand protecting and saving American lives,” the songwriter penned in an open letter.
Pretty selfless stuff from the rock ‘n’ roller. “This rogue president is creating a much worse problem with his street thug army of uninformed hatred,” he concludes.