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Home / Entertainment / In REM, Pearl Jam, dozens of artists demand the use of political songs

In REM, Pearl Jam, dozens of artists demand the use of political songs

What Elton John does, The Rolling Stones, Lionel Richie, Courtney Love, Panic! Disco, Pearl Jam, Sia, Aerosmith, Lorde and Linkin Park have in common? Among probably many other things, the undoubted desire of politicians not to stray from music. (Unless, perhaps, they ask nicely.)

Those and dozens of other artists wrote their open letter from the Artists ’Rights Alliance to the Democratic and Republican National, Congressional, and Senatorial Committees, asking all parties to stop using popular songs for political purposes without permission.

“It is not good for any politician to force a popular artist to publicly condemn and reject them,” the letter said. “However, these unnecessary disputes inevitably distract even the most reluctant or apolitical artists and force them to explain why they disagree with candidates who misuse their music. In social media and culture in general, politicians tend to find themselves on the wrong side of those stories. “

Others who add their signatures to their letters include Green Day, REM, Sheryl Crow, T Bone Burnett, Kurt Cobain̵

7;s estate, Blondie, Jason Isbell, Elvis Costello, Rosanne Cash and Lykke Li ”. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards signed separately. Steven Tyler is a signatory in his own name and Aerosmith’s.

“This is an issue that has arisen in previous election cycles,” said Ted Kalo, executive director of the Artists’ Rights Alliance. Diversity, “But it happened a lot more often in this cycle and it caught our attention. At a time when Americans came together to defend their rights and demand more politicians and big institutions, there was an endless amount of energy to stop using. Instead of just embarking on this process, we thought it was time to address this issue in numbers by making a simple request: first ask and get permission. “

This issue has been a hot-button topic of late, with artists no longer thinking that dropping a hand is something they can do when they need to stop playing their music in campaign rallies and political videos. The Rolling Stones are working with both ASCAP and BMI to emphasize that political use requires a separate license than regular space permits, and Neil Young only this week threatened to sue the president if he continues to use his songs at campaign events.

Kalo says ARA staff and the ARA board have written the letter “in consultation with experienced executives and industry lawyers who have been following the issue for years. Manager and lawyer Bertis Downs has long been interested in this topic and has helped us provide feedback. “

He adds: “Rosanne (Cash) is a tireless lawyer and has helped him, as have other ARA board members. REM joined the ARA at the earliest – their involvement in anything shows the importance of the signal. The network of industry managers spread the word to artists. This problem, attitude and time was heard and it just collapsed.

“Artists have never known about their rights and the need to stand up for each other and stand together,” says Kalo. “This letter is a tap on the shoulder asking campaigns to do the right thing. If this shrugging of the shoulders fails to get the attention of the campaigns, I have no doubt that the response will be fulfilled by a significant increase in resentment and coordinated activism. “

Below, the full letter:

Dear campaign committees:

We, the performers, the activists and the citizens, are asking you to promise that all the candidates you support will ask for the consent of recognized record artists and songwriters before using their music in campaigns and political venues. This is the only way to effectively protect their candidates from legal risk, unnecessary public disputes, and moral confusion arising from false assertions or conjectures about the artist’s support or distortion of the artist’s expression in such a large public way.

This is not a new problem. Or partisan. Each election cycle presents the stories of artists and songwriters frustrated with the use of their works in an environment where it is proposed to approve or support political candidates without their permission or consent.

In this way, not wanting to get involved in politics can undermine the artist’s personal values, while at the same time disappointing and removing fans – at great moral and economic cost. For artists who choose to participate politically in campaigns or other contexts, such illegal public use confuses their message and undermines their effectiveness. Music tells powerful stories and fosters emotional connection and admiration – that’s why campaigns use it! But doing it without permission, this value disappears.

The legal risk is obvious. The music used during the campaign can infringe federal and (in some cases) state copyright on both audio recordings and musical compositions. Depending on the copying and broadcasting technology of these works, several exclusive copyrights, including performance and reproduction, may be infringed. In addition, these actions affect the rights of creators to publicity and brand development, thereby creating the impression of trademark infringement, dilution or damage under Lanham Law and bringing actions for false approval, redesign and other breaches of general and statutory law. In the case of an advertising campaign or advertising, a number of rules and regulations relating to the collection of campaign funds (including undisclosed and potentially illegal “in-kind” contributions), funding and communication may also be breached.

More importantly, the false support or endorsement of an artist or songwriter is dishonest and immoral. This undermines the election campaign process, confuses the voting society and ultimately distorts the elections. Any honest candidate should be left unfair, either rejecting such uncertainty or falsely leaving an impression of support from the artist or songwriter.

Artists, like all other citizens, have the fundamental right to control their work and to choose freely their political expression and participation. The use of their work for political purposes without their consent fundamentally violates these rights – an invasion of sacred, even the most sacred, personal interests.

It is not good for any politician to force a popular artist to publicly condemn and reject them. However, these unnecessary disputes inevitably distract even the most lenient or apolitical artists aside, forcing them to explain why they disagree with candidates who illegally use their music. In social media and culture in general, politicians tend to find themselves on the wrong side of those stories.

For all of these reasons, we encourage you to establish a clear policy that requires campaigns sponsored by your committees to seek the consent of reputable record artists, songwriters, and copyright holders before using their music publicly in a political or campaign. Funding, logistical support and participation in committee programs, operations and events should be subject to this commitment and should be clearly set out in writing in your statutes, operational guidelines, campaign manuals or where you set other relevant rules, requirements or terms of support.

Let us know by August 10ththousand how you plan to make these changes.



Alanis Morissette

Amanda Shirai

The ancient future

Andrew McMahon

Alliance of Artists’ Rights


Beth Nielsen Chapman


Butch Walker


Callie Khouri

Courtney love

Cyndi Lauper

And Navarro

Daniel Martin Moore

Prince Fakir

Elizabeth Cook

Elton John

Elvisas Costello

Erin McKeown

The fallen boy

Grantas-Lee Phillipsas

Green day

Gretchen Peters

Ivan Barias

Jason Izbelis


Joe Perry

John McCrea

John Mellencampas

Keith Richards

Kurt Cobain’s estate

Lera Lynn

Lionel Richie

Linkin Park


Happiness Li

Maggie Vail

Mary Gauthier

Matt Nathanson

Matt Montfort

Michelle branch

Mick Jagger

Ockerville River

Pearl Jam

Panic! The Disco

Patrick Carney


Regina Spektor

Rosanne Cash

Cheryl crow


Steven Tyler

T bones Burnett

Tift Merritt

Tomas Manzi

The train

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