Tom Petty’s family issued a formal cease and desist to President Trump on Saturday night after his use of the late singer’s hit “I Won’t Back Down” at a rally in Tulsa.
What We Know:
- Tom Petty’s estate released a cease and desist against the Trump campaign after the 1989 hit “I Won’t Back Down” was played at the president’s Tulsa rally on Saturday. “Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” the Petty family said in a statement posted to social media later that night.
— Tom Petty (@tompetty) June 21, 2020
- The family said the use of the song was “in no way authorized” at the campaign rally as he wrote the song “for the underdog, for the common man, and for EVERYONE”. “Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind,” the statement read. “Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”
- Benmont Tench III, a founding member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, echoed their sentiment, retweeting the family’s statement with, “Second. Absolutely.” Tench later posted to Instagram, “I in no way approve of Trump even whistling any piece of music associated with our band. I hope that’s clear enough.”
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- Numerous artists have issued cease and desists to the Trump campaign in the past, condemning the president’s usage of their music at rallies and events. Some of these artists include Prince, Neil Young, Guns N’ Roses, Pharrell, Earth, Wind & Fire, Queen, REM’s Michael Stipe, The Rolling Stones, Rihanna, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.
- The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) states that artists may be able to take legal action even if the campaign has the appropriate performance licenses. Such claims could be based on the idea of false endorsement, where the use of their work “implies that the artist supports a product or candidate,” ASCAP noted. The Petty family said, “We believe in America and we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideals of either. We would hate for fans that are marginalized by this administration to think we are complicit in this usage.”
President Trump and his campaign have yet to comment.