Is Tom Petty slapping Bachmann with a cease and desist letter?

Michele Bachmann (left) and Tom Petty (right). CBS/Getty

Michele Bachmann (left) and Tom Petty (right).
CBS/Getty

Updated: June 29, 11:07 a.m. ET

Musician Tom Petty is reportedly less than pleased that Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is using his song "American Girl" on the campaign trail.

Bachmann, who officially jumped into the race on Monday in a nationally televised speech in Iowa, closed out that announcement with the Petty song.

NBC's Matt Ortega Tweeted on Monday that Petty was in the process of issuing a "cease and desist" letter to Bachmann's camp in order to prevent her from using the song.

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell followed up:

"When Bachmann left the stage here [in Iowa], her campaign played the Tom Petty hit song, 'American Girl.' Turns out petty isn't pleased," she said. "His manager says they will ask the Bachmann campaign not to use that song."

Petty's agent told CBS News he was unaware of any such letter. His management did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

This would not be the first time the singer has been prompted to take action against a politician for using his music without permission: In 2000, Petty issued a cease and desist letter to former President George W. Bush, whose campaign was playing Petty's "I won't back down" on the stump. (Bush, ultimately, backed down and stopped using the song.)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has had better luck with the artist: During her 2008 presidential bid, she frequently played "American Girl" on the trail.

Update: Politico notes that, even if Petty's management does send Bachmann a cease and desist letter, the law may be on the her side if the songwriter licensed the performance rights to "American Girl" with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers or Broadcast Music Inc. (According to a 2008 report on the subject, "the vast majority" of artists do.)

"Buying an ASCAP or BMI license allows a venue (or a campaign, if it purchases a traveling blanket license) to play any of about 8 million songs during their events. Though it might be a nice courtesy, the licensees are not obligated to call the artist to discuss," writes Politico's Suz Redfearn.

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