At President Trump’s Tuesday rally in West Virginia, Aerosmith’s “Livin’ on the Edge” wafted through the speakers as early arrivals found their seats, despite the fact that frontman Steven Tyler sent the Trump campaign a pair of cease-and-desist letters in 2015 for its use of the band’s music.
If Trump’s staff thought the Aerosmith singer might let the song use slide this time, Tyler delivered a firm message Wednesday: “Dream On.”
Tyler sent Trump a cease-and-desist letter through attorney Dina LaPolt, noting that because Trump had already received letters “not once, but two times” from Tyler in 2015 regarding the use of Aerosmith songs, the playing of “Livin’ on the Edge” Tuesday night was “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,” the letter reads. “By using ‘Livin’ On The Edge’ without our client’s permission, Mr. Trump is falsely implying [emphasis theirs] 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.”
The letter also states that Tyler and his attorneys “are unaware of any remaining public performance license still in existence which grants Mr. Trump the right use [sic] his music.”
According to Variety, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) administers the public performance rights for “Livin’ on the Edge.”
Variety also reported that Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) pulled the public performance rights for “Dream On” after Tyler’s letters in 2015 regarding the Trump campaign’s use of the song.
After Tyler’s letter in 2015, Trump took to Twitter to criticize the singer.
“Even though I have the legal right to use Steven Tyler’s song, he asked me not to,” Trump wrote in an Oct. 14, 2015, tweet. “Have better one to take its place!”
Even though I have the legal right to use Steven Tyler’s song, he asked me not to. Have better one to take its place!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2015
On Wednesday afternoon, Tyler himself weighed in with a pair of tweets, writing that he feels the issue is that songwriters are not adequately protected by existing copyright laws.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT DEMS VS. REPUB. I DO NOT LET ANYONE USE MY SONGS WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. MY MUSIC IS FOR CAUSES NOT FOR POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS OR RALLIES. PROTECTING COPYRIGHT AND SONGWRITERS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN FIGHTING FOR EVEN BEFORE THIS CURRENT ADMINISTRATION TOOK OFFICE.— Steven Tyler (@IamStevenT) August 22, 2018
Kevin Slane can be reached at email@example.com.