Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith, has issued a “cease and desist” letter to the White House, demanding President Trump stop using his songs at political rallies.
The letter came following Trump’s August 21 rally at the Charleston Civic Center in West Virginia, where Jim Acosta reported Aerosmith’s “Livin’ on the Edge” was playing as Trump supporters entered the venue.
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
Through his attorney, Dina LaPolt, Tyler accused the President of “willful infringement in broadcasting the song, which was written by Tyler, Joe Perry and Mark Hudson.”
Really? You want to be able to use something someone else created, their work, at free will with out permission, recognition and approval? This isn’t political, that music is his life’s work. Not free for the taking to be used as a political statement.— JO (@jo_lyfe) August 23, 2018
Tyler referenced 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.”
In simple terms, the “cease and desist” letter claimed that, by playing Aerosmith songs at his rallies, Trump is giving the false impression of an endorsement by the band.
During the 2015 campaign, Tyler and Trump butted heads similarly over the use of Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” At the time, Tyler’s lawyer wrote to the Trump campaign, saying:
Trump for President needs our client’s express written permission in order to use his music.
Steven Tyler has just demanded that President Trump stops playing Aerosmith songs at his rallies.— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) August 22, 2018
In the words of an Aerosmith song, "Ain't that a Bitch"?
Thank you @IamStevenT
When this didn’t solve the problem, the band “pulled the public performance rights for the song.”
Here is the cease and desist letter to Trump from Steven Tyler’s lawyers demanding that the Trump campaign refrain from playing Aerosmith music at rallies. Aerosmith has made this demand before according to this letter. pic.twitter.com/tWpOSO6tS5— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 22, 2018
The letter from Tyler’s lawyer to Donald Trump reads:
It has come to our attention that President Donald J. Trump and/or The Trump Organization (collectively, “Mr. Trump”) have been using our client’s song “Livin’ On The Edge” in connection with political rally events (the Rallies”), including at an event held yesterday at the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia on August 21, 2018. As expressly outlined in the Previous Letters, Mr. Trump does not have our client’s permission to use any of our client’s music, including “Livin’ On The Edge”.
What makes this violation even more egregious is that Mr. Trump’s use of our client’s music was previously shut down, not once, but two times, during his campaign for presidency in 2015. Please see the Previous Letters sent on behalf of our client attached here as Exhibit A. Due to your receipt of the Previous Letters, such conduct is clearly willful, subjecting Mr. Trump to the maximum penalty under the law.
It’s about time !— E J (@Ernienavarro7) August 23, 2018
As we have made clear numerous times, Mr. Trump is creating the false impression that our client has given his consent for the use of his music, and even that he endorses the presidency of Mr. Trump. By using “Livin’ On The Edge” without our client’s permission, Mr. Trump is falsely implying that our client, once again, endorses his campaign and/or his presidency, as evidenced by actual confusion seen from the reactions of our client’s fans all over social media. This specifically violates Section 43 of the Lanham Act, as it “is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person.”
Further, as we have also made clear, Mr. Trump needs our client’s express written permission in order to use his music. We demanded Mr. Tyler’s public performance societies terminate their licenses with you in 2015 in connection with “Dream On” and any other musical compositions written or co-written by Mr. Tyler. As such, we are unaware of any remaining public performance license still in existence which grants Mr. Trump the right use his music in connection with the Rallies or any other purpose. If Mr. Trump has any such license, please forward it to our attention immediately.
In addition, Mr. Tyler’s voice is easily recognizable and central to his identity, and any use thereof wrongfully misappropriates his rights of publicity. Mr. Trump does not have any right to use the name, image, voice or likeness of our client, without his express written permission.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT DEMS VS. REPUB. I DO NOT LET ANYONE USE MY SONGS WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. MY MUSIC IS FOR CAUSES NOT FOR POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS OR RALLIES. PROTECTING COPYRIGHT AND SONGWRITERS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN FIGHTING FOR EVEN BEFORE THIS CURRENT ADMINISTRATION TOOK OFFICE.— Steven Tyler (@IamStevenT) August 22, 2018
Steve your still the Man! Go Tyler!— Rich Cardenas (@CardenasRich) August 23, 2018
To all the Trump supporters who enjoyed hearing Aerosmith’s music at Trump rallies, Tyler has but one thing to say: