After recent legal threats from the Tom Petty estate, it appears that the Rolling Stones have now threatened legal action against the Trump campaign for playing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” at a recent rally.
After receiving a cease and desist notice from the Tom Petty estate, the Trump campaign stated that they legally licensed the song and denied violating copyright law.
The Rolling Stones say they have previously asked the Trump campaign not to use their music at rallies back in 2016, though they have continued to do so.
The situation is complicated by the fact that the Rolling Stones don’t actually own the recordings they are complaining about. BMI is the authority on licensing agreements and issues the licenses to individual arenas, who then play them during Trump rallies. For their part, BMI says they reserve the right to revoke the licenses if they receive an objection from the artists, something they did in this case.
BMI confirmed as much in a statement that read “The Trump campaign has a Political Entities License which authorizes the public performance of more than 15 million musical works in BMI’s repertoire wherever campaign events occur,” a BMI spokesperson told Deadline. “There is a provision, however, that allows BMI to exclude musical works from the license if a songwriter or publisher objects to its use by a campaign. BMI has received such an objection and sent a letter notifying the Trump campaign that the Rolling Stones’ works have been removed from the campaign license, and advising the campaign that any future use of these musical compositions will be in breach of its license agreement with BMI.”
Now, the Rolling Stones have released a statement, which reads as follows:
“This could be the last time President Donald Trump uses Stones songs. Despite cease & desist directives to Donald Trump in the past, the Rolling Stones are taking further steps to exclude him using their songs at any of his future political campaigning. The Stones’ legal team is working with BMI. BMI has notified the Trump campaign on behalf of the Stones that the unauthorized use of their songs will constitute a breach of its licensing agreement. If Donald Trump disregards the exclusion and persists, then he would face a lawsuit for breaking the embargo and playing music that has not been licensed.”
The Trump campaign has not responded to the statement.