Neil Young sues Donald Trump’s campaign over copyright infringement

Neil Young said he has complained about Trump's use of his songs since 2015.

Neil Young said he has complained about Trump's use of his songs since 2015. Photo: Getty

Rocker Neil Young is suing US President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, accusing it of copyright infringement for playing his songs without permission.

In a complaint filed in US District Court in Manhattan, Young has objected to the playing of Rockin’ in the Free World and Devil’s Sidewalk numerous times at rallies and political events, including a June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Young said he has complained about the Trump campaign’s use of his songs since 2015 and the campaign has “willfully” ignored him, despite not having a licence.

He had also objected when Mr Trump played his music while visiting Mount Rushmore on July 3.

“This complaint is not intended to disrespect the rights and opinions of American citizens, who are free to support the candidate of their choosing,” Young’s lawyers said.

“However, plaintiff, in good conscience, cannot allow his music to be used as a ‘theme song’ for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate.”

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Young is seeking damages of up to $US150,000 ($A209,908) per infringement.

Born in Canada and now also a US citizen, Young, 74, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 1995 and as part of Buffalo Springfield in 1997.

It is common for musicians to oppose politicians’ alleged unauthorised use or invocation of their music.

In a prominent early case, Bruce Springsteen objected in 1984, soon after the release of his blockbuster album Born in the USA when then-president Ronald Reagan invoked his name during his re-election campaign.

Last month, dozens of artists, including Aerosmith, Rosanne Cash, Green Day, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Elton John, Linkin Park, Lorde, Pearl Jam and Sia joined an open letter calling on politicians to obtain permission before playing their music at campaign and political events.


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