Steven Tyler is calling President Trump out for using his music at rallies, citing the use of Aerosmith’s 1993 hit, “Livin’ on the Edge” during Trump’s entrance at the Charleston Civic Center in West Virginia on Tuesday.
According to Variety, Tyler sent a “cease and desist” letter through his attorney Dina LaPolt to the White House accusing the President of willful infringement in broadcasting the song, which was written by Tyler, Joe Perry and Mark Hudson.
This isn’t the first time Tyler has sent a ceast and desist letter to Trump after using one of Aerosmith’s songs. In 2015, Tyler sent a similar letter after Trump used “Dream On” during his campaign for Presidency. According to Variety, Tyler and his team were successful in having the song pulled, stating “Mr. Trump needs our client’s express written permission in order to use his music.”
According to Variety, 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.” Tyler’s attorney also stated that “playing an Aerosmith song in a public arena gives the false impression that Tyler is endorsing Trump’s presidency.”
Musicians demanding politicians quit using their music at campaign rallies has been common for years. In 2008, the Foo Fighters went after John McCain for using “My Hero” during one of his campaign rallies while running for office against Barack Obama, as well as the several other instances that McCain used Foo Fighters songs against the bands’ wishes.
“It’s frustrating and infuriating that someone who claims to speak for the American people would repeatedly show such little respect for creativity and intellectual property,” the band said in a statement. “The saddest thing about this is that ‘My Hero’ was written as a celebration of the common man and his extraordinary potential.”
Heart went after Sarah Palin for using “Barracuda” that same year, and The Dropkick Murphy’s weren’t happy when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker used “Shipping up to Boston” during his short-lived bid for president, tweeting “please stop using our music in any way,” they tweeted, then added: “We literally hate you !!!” You can check out a longer list here.
You can also read Steven Tyler’s ceast and desist letter to Trump below:
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.
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.