HBO, the cable network that broadcasts the popular Game of Thrones TV series, is not at all pleased with Donald Trump making use of its intellectual property in a tweet about Iran sanctions, CNBC is reporting.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, on Friday Trump took to Twitter to announce upcoming sanctions against Iran. To make his point, Trump – or an associate with rights to his social media accounts – showed a picture of himself with the caption “Sanctions Are Coming,” using the same font used in Game of Thrones publicity.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2018
The line itself references the show’s tagline, “Winter Is Coming,” which refers to the fact that winters in the show’s fictional universe are deadly and can last for years.
— Nabhan Salim (@Nabhan80) November 2, 2018
Not long after the tweet, a spokesperson from HBO contacted CNBC to clarify that Trump did not have permission to use their intellectual property this way.
“We were not aware of this messaging and would prefer our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes.”
Others associated with the show also spoke up. For example, Maisie Williams, who plays teenage firebrand Arya Stark on the show, wasn’t amused, tweeting the image and simply using the caption “Not today.” Similarly, Sophie Turner, who plays Maisie’s on-screen sister, Sansa Stark, simply said, “Ew.” Even HBO used Twitter to get in on the act.
How do you say trademark misuse in Dothraki?
— HBO (@HBO) November 2, 2018
This is not the first time Trump has run afoul of an artist for using their intellectual property to make a point, without the artist’s permission.
For example, just last week, as the Inquisitr reported at the time, pop musician Pharrell Williams learned that Trump was using his song “Happy” at his rallies, even just a few hours after the deadly synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. Williams’ attorney sent Trump a cease-and-desist letter.
“On the day of the mass murder of 11 human beings at the hands of a deranged ‘nationalist,’ you played his song ‘Happy’ to a crowd at a political event in Indiana.”
Similarly, as Variety reported at the time, back during the 2016 presidential campaign Trump used Aerosmith songs at his campaign rallies. Lead vocalist Steven Tyler wanted no part of that. Through his attorney, Tyler cited the Lanham Act, which prohibits “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.”
As for HBO, whether or not they have enough to take Trump to court for copyright misuse, violation of the Lanham Act, or any other civil or criminal act, remains to be seen. As of this writing, Trump has not responded to the controversy.