Sour note? Political campaigns and music rights

BTN11: Music rights and politics

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. – Rock legends Queen have a message for presumptive Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump: don’t use our music.

The band posted the message on Twitter after “We Are the Champions” was played when Trump went on stage at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Monday night.

This dilemma is not new to the political arena. In 1984, Ronald Reagan and Bruce Springsteen were at odds for the use of "Born in the USA." Tom Petty told Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman to quit using his hit "American Girl" at events. Sam & Dave said no to President Barack Obama after he used their hit song "Hold On I'm Coming."

Copyright and entertainment attorney Adam Gislason says in most cases at a venue like Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland the candidate is not on the hook for licensing.

"It becomes the responsibility of the venue to obtain a blanket license to publicly perform music at their venue," explained Gislason.

It’s no different than when you hear a song at a hockey or basketball game being played. That venue typically has the rights. But in the controversial world of politics, artists in many cases chose legal means to stop the use of their songs. Still others choose to make public statements of disapproval.

"Perception is reality. That's why artists like Queen jump on Twitter and say this is an unauthorized use of our song or our likeness," said Gislason.

None the less don't count on dead air in any future political events.

"It keeps happening because politicians realize the value of music and the connection  that music can create with an audience," said Gislason.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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