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Music, Politics, and "Livin' on the Edge"

I usually try to keep my entertainment blogs limited to the hip hop and R&B genre, but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to mix music and Trump, especially when the artist at hand is protecting its music and brand from being tainted by Trump’s administration. Besides, Aerosmith is one of the greatest rock groups of all time and I’m not ashamed to admit I owned an album or two back in the day.

Apparently, Trump has been playing some of Aerosmith’s music at his presidential events and Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, does not want to be associated with the man. Tyler doesn’t want to mislead the American people in believing that he endorses Trump and has gone so far as to issue Cease and Desists demanding that he refrains from playing his music. Tyler has been receiving backlash from his fans who were under the impression that Tyler gave his consent for Trump to play his music because Trump has done it on a number of occasions; and Tyler wants to set the record straight.

Initially Tyler sent Cease and Desist letters back in 2015 during Trump’s campaign when he learned Trump was using his song “Dream On” in connection with political rally events. Trump used the song “Livin’ On the Edge” at a political function on August 21, 2018 and Tyler’s legal team didn’t waste any time addressing the matter with the president. At this point, Trump is on notice of his unauthorized use and his conduct constitutes willful infringement, which subjects him to the maximum penalties under the law.

Tyler gave Trump only 24 hours to comply in writing, with his demands or be faced with civil actions for a number of claims, including but not limited to, violation of privacy and violation of the Lanham Act (trademark infringement). Tyler’s violation of privacy rights is at issue because of Trump’s unauthorized use of Tyler’s image, voice, and likeness. Tyler’s voice and likeness are unique and personal to him, and the use of same in connection with Trump’s political campaign violates Tyler’s rights of publicity. Section 43 of the Lanham Act is violated when the acts of another “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.” Tyler’s fans have undoubtedly made the connection and affiliation and Tyler is not happy about it.

Tyler previously demanded that the performance rights organizations in which he was associated cease licensing Tyler’s works to the Trump administration in 2015 as it related to “Dream On” and Tyler is not aware of any licenses that would permit Trump’s use of any of his music today.

So far Trump’s administration has been quiet. They should have responded by August 23, 2018. Let’s see how far Aerosmith will take this.

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