Donald Trump and the music industry have a fairly toxic relationship. In addition to a number of top-tier musicians, including Garth Brooks and Elton John, declining to perform at his 2016 inauguration, the 45th president couldn’t even get a Bruce Springsteen cover band to commit to playing. He’s further drawn the ire of the music industry by regularly using the music of dozens of well-known musicians at his rallies without their permission, and promptly receiving cease and desist letters. (There’s literally an entire Wikipedia page about it.) Among those musicians is Eddy Grant, who wrote, produced, and recorded the 1983 hit “Electric Avenue,” which Trump attached to an animated video and tweeted. But Grant wasn’t having it—and the courts are siding with the British musician.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Trump responded to Grant’s cease and desist with some sort of bullsh*t about how “the purpose” of his stupid animation (which he quickly removed… back when any social media network would let him use it as a platform) “is not to disseminate the Song or to supplant sales of the original Song. Here, a reasonable observer would perceive that the Animation uses the Song for a comedic, political purpose—a different and transformed purpose from that of the original Song.” But U.S. District Court Judge John Koeltl wasn’t buying it.
In his ruling, Koeltl described Trump’s use of the song as “wholesale copying of music to accompany a political campaign ad” and specifically noted that the Trump team’s reasonings for why the suit should be dismissed “misapprehends the focus of the transformative use inquiry.” Further, the judge notes: “While it is true that the animation is partisan political commentary and the song apparently is not, the inquiry does not focus exclusively on the character of the animation; rather, it focuses on the character of the animation’s use of Grant’s song.”
In other words: Trump’s attempt to stop the suit dead in its tracks failed, and Grant’s legal team is free to continue on with the appropriate legal process and, as the long says, “And then we’ll take it higher.” You can read the full ruling here.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)