Steven Tyler has warned Donald Trump to stop using Aerosmith songs at his rallies. the Aerosmith frontman is worried that Trump gives the impression that Aerosmith is endorsing him by playing the band’s songs at his rallies. But this couldn’t be further from the truth, according to Tyler’s attorney Dina LaPolt.
The singer has consequently sent a “cease and desist” letter to the White House, demanding that the president stop using the band’s songs effective immediately.
There is definitely a legal precedent which bars someone from playing Aerosmith songs to large audiences because it technically infringes the band’s copyright on their material. LaPolt quoted the Lanham Act, which bars Trump and his campaign from “any false designation or misleading description or representation of fact … likely to cause confusion … as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person.”
The “cease and desist” letter comes one day after Donald Trump used Aerosmith’s 1993 hit “Livin’ on the Edge” as his supporters gathered at the 13,500-capacity Charleston Civic Center in West Virginia on Tuesday.
CNN’s Jim Acosta had uploaded a clip of Trump supporters filling up the center with Tyler’s song bellowing in the background on Twitter.
The scene in WV before Trump’s rally. Aerosmith’s “Livin’ on the edge” playing. pic.twitter.com/HW1qr9TBgE— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 21, 2018
It would be interesting to see how Donald Trump’s attorneys respond to Tyler’s demands. The Trump campaign would either have to stop playing Aerosmith’s songs altogether or would need to challenge the “cease and desist” letter, which, considering their past brushes with Tyler’s songs, doesn’t appear likely.
Back in 2015 while campaigning on a Republican ticket, Trump had also used the band’s songs during his rallies, most notably “Dream On.” Even on that occasion, Tyler’s lawyers had sent Trump’s campaign a similar warning letter stating “Trump for President needs our client’s express written permission in order to use his music” and that the campaign “was violating Mr. Tyler’s copyright,” according to Variety.
In that instance, although Trump’s campaign never really got a chance to respond to the letter, BMI, which held the rights for the public performance of the song, suspended anyone from doing so. The public performance rights for “Livin’ on the Edge” is administered by ASCAP, and we’d have to wait to know what they plan to do with it. It is likely that ASCAP would follow BMI’s suit.
For Trump, however, the troubles just keep on mounting. Reports of his former lawyer Michael Cohen accepting a guilty plea for violating campaign finance laws are already bad enough for a beleaguered White House, and Tyler’s demands don’t make the week any better for the president.