Trump is in especially hot water with British superstar Paul Rogers, who already has threatened to sue over the use of his song.
Rogers was lead singer for the English band Free, which formed in London in 1968. Its 1970 song “All Right Now” is considered a rock anthem. The GOP convention was the last place Rogers expected to hear it.
The song played in the background when Trump introduced runningmate Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana.
“Permission to use ‘All Right Now’ was never sought for, or granted by me,” the singer said in a statement. My lawyer is dealing with this matter.”
Use of the song without permission constitutes copyright infringement.
Campaigns must contact the owner of the music or whomever owns the rights to the song. The must receive permission and pay a licensing fee, according ASCAP, which represents more than 500,000 composers and artists.
Even if the campaign has obtained copyright permission it could still face legal action.
Recording artists can sue under one of three laws that protect their image, their legal trademark or where use of the song ties them to a product or political endorsement, according to the music rights organization.
The Stanford University marching band recorded the version of “All Right Now” pirated for the convention. The band noted in a Tweet that Trump’s use “is probably a violation of Free’s common law trademark rights.”
Other artists were just as incensed. Trump’s campaign also pirated the Rolling Stones’ classic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” which played following Trump’s acceptance speech.
A rep for the band told Rolling Stone magazine the use was unauthorized and angered the band members.
Beatle George Harrison’s estate also protested the unauthorized use of the band’s song “Here Comes the Sun” during Ivanka Trump’s introduction of her father at the convention.
The rep called Trump’s action “offensive.”
Walter Williams and Eddie Levert, founding members of the ’60s R&B group The O’Jays also criticized Trump for using their 1973 song “Love Train,” without permission.
“Our music, and most especially, ‘Love Train’ is about bringing people together, not building walls,” said Williams in a statement released on Thursday.
“I don’t appreciate being associated with Mr. Trump and his usage of our music without permission,” he added.
Levert added: “I don’t agree, whatsoever, with Trump’s politics.”
It appears the campaign pirated almost every song played at the convention.
British rock band Queen, ’70s R&B band Earth, Wind & Fire and ’60s English rock group The Turtles have all complained about the Trump campaign’s unauthorized use of their music during the four-day convention.
Music piracy and copyright infringement are the biggest issues facing the music industry, said to cost record labels and artists tens of millions of dollars a year.
The industry has appealed on numerous occasions to Congress for tougher laws to thwart the practice.
It will be interesting to see what Trump’s position is on the issue.
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