According to Variety, AEROSMITH singer Steven Tyler has once again asked President Donald Trump stop using the band’s songs at political events.
AEROSMITH’s 1993 hit “Livin’ On The Edge” was reportedly played at Trump rallies, like the one held at the Charleston Civic Center in West Virginia on Tuesday (August 21), as the president’s supporters entered the venue.
Tyler’s attorney has sent a “cease and desist” letter to the White House accusing the President of willful infringement in broadcasting the song. The singer is citing the Lanham Act, which states that trademark infringement can occur if the use of a song by a politician is likely to create confusion in the marketplace that the musician endorses the politician, especially if this association harms the musician’s reputation (referred to as “dilution by tarnishment”).
This isn’t the first time Trump has used Tyler’s music, with the AEROSMITH frontman previously writing a similar letter regarding his song “Dream On”, which Trump used during his 2015 election campaign.
The latest letter sent to the White House by Steven Tyler’s attorney reads as follows:
“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.”
Tyler is a registered Republican and attended the first GOP debate back in August 2015. The Hollywood Reporter posted three years ago that Tyler’s attorney, Dina LaPolt, explained that Tyler’s problem with Trump’s use of the music goes beyond politics, and has to do with copyright control. “Steven works tirelessly with both Republicans and Democrats regarding copyright reform and his position has always been consistent regarding copyright and intellectual property,” she wrote. “Simply, one must get permission from the music creators. Steven wrote 100 percent of ‘Dream On’, and this is about the unauthorized use of his property.”