Donald Trump made an entrance at Monday night’s Republican National Convention, worthy of JLo at the Grammy’s, walking out to Queen‘s We Are the Champions but not everyone was cheering. The RNC and the Republican Presidential (it’s official as of last night) are under pressure to cease and desist. Queen tweeted yesterday that the song’s use at the convention was “unauthorized” and “against our wishes.”
Adam Lambert, the current lead singer of Queen, tweeted a photo of frontman Freddie Mercury, writing,
“If your politics party spends decades treating gay people as second-class citizens, guess what: You don’t get to use Freddie Mercury’s music at your convention.“
In a statement, Sony/ATV Music Publishing said it was “frustrated” by the “repeated unauthorized use” of the song by the Trump campaign.
“Sony/ATV Music Publishing has never been asked by Mr. Trump, the Trump campaign or the Trump Organization for permission to use ‘We are the Champions’ by Queen. On behalf of the band, we are frustrated by the repeated unauthorized use of the song after a previous request to desist, which has obviously been ignored by Mr. Trump and his campaign. Queen does not want its music associated with any mainstream or political debate in any country. Nor does Queen want ‘We are the Champions’ to be used as an endorsement of Mr. Trump and the political views of the Republican Party. We trust, hope and expect that Mr. Trump and his campaign will respect these wishes moving forward.”
But this isn’t the first time Trump has been scolded by the band’s label for using its song. The popular anthem played as Trump walked out to his victory party at the Trump National Golf Club in New York after the last of the Republican primaries on June 7. Guitarist Brian May denounced Trump’s use of the song on his website, saying it was without permission that Trump used the song.
“Regardless of our views on Mr. Trump’s platform, it has always been against our policy to allow Queen music to be used as a political campaigning tool.“
According to ABC News,
Republican National Committee Communications Director Sean Spicer responded on Twitter that the convention paid to license the song, which another RNC official also confirmed.
“We Are the Champions” is licensed by Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) If the RNC has a blanket license with BMI, paying an annual fee to use all the songs in its catalog, the RNC can most likely legally play the song even if the band objects.
Even with a blanket BMI license, it’s still “recommended” to ask the artist or copyright holder for permission. But legal experts tell ABC News it’s common to use songs without that permission.
The band could potentially sue for “false endorsement” (leading the public to believe the artist endorses you) or “grand rights” (dramatizing or illustrating a song without permission) but these lawsuits are very hard to win.
We’ll see if Donald gets sued fr the 4,000th time. As World of Wonder‘s Fenton Baily said in a post about the use of the song and the GOP’s attitude toward the LGBTQ community,
“They hate us, but they can’t live without us.“
What he said.
(via ABC News)