John Oliver of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is not mincing words when it comes to what he thinks of last week’s Republican National Convention and Donald Trump’s use of music without gaining permission from the artist who owns the rights to said music. John Oliver was quoted as calling the Republican National Convention a “mis-managed s***show,” and he has gathered together top-named artists like Usher and Josh Groban to tell all politicians to stop using their music, which is their intellectual property, without permission. Oliver believes that there are far more ways the Republican National Convention went way wrong than it went right for Donald Trump and company.
According to the Inquisitr, this wouldn’t be the Donald Trump campaign’s first misstep since announcing his bid for president. Trump’s former butler, Anthony Senecal, publicly supported Trump, saying that he is disappointed that nobody had killed President Obama yet, but there was still time. Senecal, who was a prized Trump employee for decades, took to Facebook to praise Donald Trump and to make blatantly racist comments about the current president, while also making not so subtle threats about the Obama family. Trump made a public statement saying that the comments of Anthony Senecal did not mirror his own.
Vanity Fair reported that John Oliver was back from his hiatus with a bang, dissing the Republican National Convention as a “s***show,” and calling on all artists who have been ripped off by politicians to come forward to say that it’s not acceptable to use music without permission. On his HBO show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Oliver let loose with what he thought of the debacle in Cleveland, the RNC, which he called “the most apocalyptic thing ever to happen to that city, and bear in mind, their river has repeatedly caught fire.”
But the high point of John Oliver’s return was his music video called “Don’t Use Our Songs,” which featured Cyndi Lauper, Josh Groban, Heart, Michael Bolton, Usher, and Sheryl Crow to name a few, who got together to sing about politicians stealing from them and using songs that mean one thing to promote their agenda, which usually goes in a totally different direction.
The Atlantic says though railing against politicians who steal their songs might be futile, John Oliver has put together a catchy message about intellectual property, and why it’s uncool to take it without asking. Josh Groban, John Mellencamp, and Imagine Dragons joined many other musicians to say cut it out, or you might get sued. Josh Groban musically made the point that if he wanted his music used for free, he’d be on Spotify.
This topic came up again because Donald Trump has been using the music of Queen and REM without permission, and so John Oliver gathered a group of musicians to make a final statement, just in case there is someone out there who thinks it’s okay to use these songs without permission. A key line in the song references the much-pilfered song, “Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen.
“Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” is the canonical example, and in this new song Heart and Imagine Dragons’s Dan Reynolds team up for this couplet: “Why would Reagan be playin’ ‘Born in the USA’? It’s about Vietnam!”
But lawsuits filed by musicians are often long, tangled, and not worth the trouble, and The Atlantic says that the best recourse is often public shaming. For example, the Dropkick Murphys tweeted a public message to Scott Walker.
“We literally hate you!!!”
The final message from John Oliver was that just because you can use a song, doesn’t mean you should.
What do you think of John Oliver’s take on the RNC? Do you think artists should be able to sue politicians for using their music without permission?
[Photo by Greg Allen/AP Images]