It’s been more than 25 years since Neil Young released his “Rockin in the Free World” track. The song was a major sensation when released in the ’80s and soon became the song of choice in rallies and protests during the post-Reagan years.
It was particularly used during the quest for “American values.” At the time, Neil Young was against the George H. W. Bush administration and Republican ideologies, which he felt disregarded the lower class.
That said, when Donald Trump made an announcement on Tuesday that he will be running for president, the “Rockin’ in the Free World,” soundtrack was played numerous times, which did not sit well with Neil Young.
His manager was quick to release a statement regarding the use of the song, stating that it was used without permission and that Neil was actually a Bernie Sanders supporter, according to Fox News.
However, when Trump’s manager was reached for comment on the issue by FOX411, he countered the accusation, saying the Trump camp had paid for the rights to use the song.
“Through a licensing agreement with ASCAP, Mr. Trump’s campaign paid for and obtained the legal right to use Neil Young’s recording of ‘Rockin In The Free World.'”
However, according to an ASCAP document outlining the terms when using music for political purposes, the user has to contact the publisher or record label for the necessary licenses.
According to an excerpt of the document at Rolling Stone,
“Can the campaign still be criticized or even sued by an artist for playing his or her song at an event?
Yes. If an artist does not want his or her music to be associated with the campaign, he or she may be able to legal action even if the campaign has the appropriate copyright licenses. “
That said, the Donald Trump side will refrain from using the song, according to a spokesperson for his campaign who spoke to Billboard.
“Nevertheless, we won’t be using it again — there are plenty of songs to choose from. Despite Neil’s differing political views, Mr. Trump likes Neil very much.”
Donald Trump is just one among the many politicians who have in recent years ran into problems with campaign songs.
In 2012, another presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, received a cease and desist letter from Silversun Pickups after playing their “Panic Switch” song in his campaign.
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