Tom Petty's family issues cease and desist after Trump plays "I Won't Back Down" at Tulsa rally
Tom Petty's family has issued a cease and desist notice against the Trump campaign after the late singer's 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.
The statement was issued by Adria, Annakim, Dana and Jane Petty, the musician's children, widow, and first wife.
Benmont Tench III, a founding member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, echoed their sentiment. "I in no way approve of Trump even whistling any piece of music associated with our band. I hope that's clear enough," he wrote in an Instagram post.
"I Won't Back Down" held a special place in Petty's heart, the Petty family noted: "Tom wrote this song for the underdog, for the common man and for EVERYONE." According to NPR, the song was considered an inspiration to many fans, who wrote to Petty about its impact on their lives.
The Trump campaign has faced numerous cease and desist notices from musicians who objected to their music being used at rallies, including R.E.M., Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Neil Young. Forcing the Trump campaign to stop using music can be tricky, however, due to blanket licensing agreements often signed by artists which allow venues to play their music.
While artists can seek recourse through copyright violations, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) states that they may also be able to take legal action even if the campaign has the appropriate performances licenses.
Such claims could be based on the idea of false endorsement, where use of the work "implies that the artist supports a product or candidate," ASCAP noted.
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