Steven Tyler To Donald Trump: I’m Republican. Stop Using My Song

Steven Tyler To Donald Trump: I’m Republican. Stop Using My Song

Donald Trump would not let Steven Tyler drink Trump Vodka for free. Why should he expect to use Tyler's music for free?

Steven Tyler doesn’t want to miss a thing, especially if that thing is royalties from his hit songs. So he got back in the saddle and sent Donald Trump a cease-and-desist letter, demanding Trump stop using his song “Dream On” at campaign events.

Entertainment Weekly reports:

‘This is not a political nor personal issue with Mr. Trump. Steven works tirelessly with both Republicans and Democrats regarding copyright reform and his position has always been consistent regarding copyright and intellectual property,’ Tyler’s attorney, Dina LaPolt, said in a statement obtained by ET.

‘Simply, one must get permission from the music creators,’ LaPolt added. ‘Steven wrote 100% of “Dream On,” and this is about the un-authorized use of his property. Steven is a registered Republican.’

Tyler is a registered Republican. Let that sink in. It’s kind of shocking and kind of awesome, like finding out Gene Simmons won the biggest pumpkin contest at his local county fair or that Metallica’s members try to outdo each other to bake the best pecan pies.

Tyler is 67. Donald Trump is 69. They’re basically the same age, but we’ll let you decide who has the best hair. Also which dude looks like a lady.

Mind the License

Most political campaign events occur at venues that have a blanket license through a songwriter’s organization like the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. The homegrown diner or local barbeque joint that politicians love to appear at pays a monthly fee to ASCAP, which gives them permission to use any of the songs on its extensive list. This is why artists like Heart can only publicly whine when Sarah Palin uses their song “Barracuda.” Unless Heart wants to withdraw from the protection of the songwriter’s association or sue under a largely untested right of publicity theory, there is little the rock duo can do.

That is, unless the song is played somewhere that doesn’t have a license. Then the owner of the song can move to protect his ownership. That’s what Jim Peterick did when his song “Eye of the Tiger” was played as Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis appeared before the media when she left jail after her brief time in the chokey for refusing to grant same-sex marriage licenses.

And now Tyler is cryin’ just to get [Trump to buy a license], now he’s dyin’ just because he let [Trump play his song without a license]. Copyright is such sweet misery.

Fork It Over, Trump

Davis may be relatively innocent in that she probably does not know the intricacies of copyright infringement, but Trump knows a thing or two about private property. Presumably, he would never let Tyler stay in his Trump Tower for free. He would not let Tyler play 18 holes of golf at any of his Trump Golf Clubs for free. He would not let Tyler drink Trump Vodka for free. Why should he expect Tyler to let him use his music for free?

Writing a hit song creates value, arguably huger and more luxurious and more classy value than anything Trump has done. When Tyler sat down in the 1970s and wrote “Dream On,” he added something to the world. Something high-pitched and cryptic, sure, but still valuable.

Now, 45 years later, when Tyler looks in the mirror, all these lines on his face getting clearer, the past may be gone, it went by, like dusk to dawn, isn’t that the way? But everyone’s got dues in life to pay.

Specifically, licensing dues. Pay up, Trump.

Rebecca Cusey is a movie critic based in Washington DC. She is a member of the Washington Area Film Critics Society and a voting Tomatomer Critic on Rotten Tomatoes. Follow her on Twitter @Rebecca_Cusey.
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