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Pharrell Is Not At All Happy About Trump Using 'Happy' At His Rally... And He Might Actually Have A Case

from the didn't-see-that-coming dept

It happens basically every election cycle: at a political event or rally a politician that a musician dislikes uses one of that musician's songs to get the crowd excited. The musician gets upset and speaks out about it, and maybe even sends a legal threat letter. We've written about this many, many times before going back many years. And in most cases, the complaints are bullshit. Most event venues and and most competent campaigns have the appropriate blanket performance licenses from BMI and/or ASCAP, and that allows them to play whatever they want at the events, and the musicians really can't do much about it (other than complain publicly, which makes lots of news -- and which is why we're still amazed that campaigns don't first check to make sure they play music of musicians who support them).

But... there are some rare exceptions to this general rule, and not only have we found one, but it involves quite an impressive legal threat. It appears that on Saturday evening, just hours after 11 people were murdered in Pittsburgh, President Donald Trump decided to still hold a political rally, because when the choice is put in front of Trump between "appropriate silence" and "pointless spectacle that makes Trump feel worshiped" he will always choose the latter*. But at this highly inappropriate rally, Trump apparently played Pharrell Williams' incredibly upbeat earworm of a pop song "Happy."

* Hey, I get that some of you are going to be upset about this line, and will come up with all sorts of bullshit rationalizing and excuses for why the rally was appropriate, and all I will say to you is: make better life choices, and maybe, take a serious look at yourself in the mirror and ask "what the fuck happened to me?"

And, yes, such a song on such a day at such a stupid rally certainly feels inappropriate to anyone with even the slightest sense of decorum or empathy. But, for Williams, it went a bit further. Because, as reporter Eriq Gardner notes, unlike most popular musicians, Pharrell ditched ASCAP four years ago and moved all his music to Irving Azoff's "Global Music Rights" organization (GMR). GMR is kind of sketchy, and feels like a giant shakedown play for internet sites, but, ignoring that, what is known is that neither the venue nor the campaign have a license from GMR.

And that enabled Pharrell's lawyers to send quite the letter to President Trump. It doesn't just talk about the infringement, but the sheer insanity of playing such a song on such a day.

If you can't read that, it says:

Dear Mr. Trump:

We write you on behalf of our client, Pharrell Williams, composer and performer of the hit song "Happy." On the day of the mass murder of 11 human beings at the hands of a deranged "nationalist," you played his song "Happy" to a crowd at a political event in Indiana. There was nothing "happy" about the tragedy inflicted on our country on Saturday and no permission was granted for your use of this song for this purpose.

Pharrell Williams is the owner of the copyright in "Happy," with the exclusive right to exploit same. Pharrell has not, and will not, grant you permission to publicly perform or otherwise broadcast or disseminate any of his music. The use of "Happy" without permission constitutes copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 501. This also violates Pharrell's trademark rights under the Lanham Act.

I guess it's possible that Trump could claim fair use in the use of the song, but I doubt that would fly. The trademark claim seems incredibly unlikely, but if the lawyers actually pursued the copyright claim, it seems like they'd have a chance to make it stick.


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  • icon
    hij (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 10:28am

    Who puts on the event?

    Why are they sending it to the President? Presumably, the people sponsoring and supporting the would either be the Republican party or the President's election campaign. They surely must put some firewall between the campaign and the candidate? Then again, they surely should pay attention to venue licenses.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 11:01am

      Re: Who puts on the event?

      Agreed. It's not so much firewalling as it is simple logistics. The speaker shows up to speak. Everything else is handled by others.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ShadowNinja (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 12:27pm

      Re: Who puts on the event?

      Well the President is supposed to be the head of their party. Both parties have traditionally rubber stamped basically anything their president wants when it comes to running the DNC/RNC.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 2:33pm

      Re: Who puts on the event?

      Why are they sending it to the President? Presumably, the people sponsoring and supporting the would either be the Republican party or the President's election campaign.

      It's the campaign, but it's pretty standard to send notifications about a campaign to the politician the campaign is about. That's fairly typical.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 30 Oct 2018 @ 11:02am

    Nothing will come of this. If anything, some settlement will be paid and that's as far as it will go.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 11:14am

      Re:

      That depends on whether Pharrell wants to settle. He doesn't need the money; this is clearly a matter of principle.

      He may be willing to accept a settlement, or he may refuse and demand a trial. Ultimately it's up to him.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 11:27am

        Re: Re:

        It'll go just as far as it would if they'd sent that letter to Mike Masnick or your local school board.

        If you want Standing in a case and want to win it, you've gotta file against the correct entities.

        This is no different than suing the Bride at a wedding because her wedding planner didn't get permission from the copyright holder to play the particular song used for the first dance.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 11:41am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Assuming you’re correct, and Trump wasn’t responsible, the fact is that most people wouldn’t know who was responsible, but Trump, presumably, does. Therefore, sending a letter to Trump is probably the best way to find out.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Bamboo Harvester (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 12:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Oh, PLEASE!

            The letter was a publicity stunt. The law firm that sent it has the resources to find out exactly who is liable in a suit over it.

            It's also a simple Cease and Desist letter, not a Filing.

            So long as no Republican uses any of that guy's songs for public consumption, there will be no law suit.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:18pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              True on all points, but I'd like to mention one more thing: usually campaigns and events have a notice somewhere stating "campaign/event organized on behalf of <politician> by <org group>."

              At this point, it should be obvious who to send the C&D to, as they've said who they are.

              If this didn't happen at THIS rally, then it would be the office of the person who's name is on the bill that they contact, in this case, the office of Donald Trump.

              However, if Trump uses Williams' IP again in the future, this can result in lawsuit as they can definitely say that his campaign was previously made aware of the situation.

              So... stunt, yes; but also sets some legal groundwork for potential future abuses.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Bamboo Harvester (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:50pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                If the event wasn't flagged as you say, the most likely place to send such a letter would be the Legal offices of the RNC, *not* trump.

                It's a C&D. Which is basically a warning that you'll be sued if you do it again.

                Since it's such an obvious publicity stunt, expect ANYTHING by the performer to be flagged in the Do Not Use column.

                I'm kinda wondering if the original performer even holds the copyright - as the article mentioned, it was pulled from ASCAP / BMI and turned over to a "shady" organization.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  James Burkhardt (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 2:47pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I disagree. The RNC is not the understood principal of the Donald Trump Presidential Campaign, 2020. The Donald Trump Presidential Campaign, 2020's principal is Donald J Trump. The RNC has no control over the Donald Trump Presidential Campaign, 2020 as noted several times during the last election. I see no reason to send a C&D over the unlicensed use of music by the Donald Trump Presidential Campaign, 2020 to the RNC over the principle of the Donald Trump Presidential Campaign, 2020 - Donald Trump.

                  As to Pharrell's ownership, the copyright was not pulled from ASCAP/BMI, the licensing rights were pulled. The licencing of music through an intermediary is done without relinquishing the copyright, rather you contract ASCAP/BMI to licence music on your behalf for a cut of the royalties.

                  GMR is an ASCAP/BMI alternative, and many including Techdirt believe that one of the purposes of it's formation was to once again renegotiate Internet Radio 'market rates'. That is the only shady thing going on.

                  Yes, its designed to draw eyeballs. Thats the point, he wants everyone to know he does not support Trump or his politics. It does serve as valid legal notice the the Donald Trump Presidential Campaign, 2020.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Canuck, 30 Oct 2018 @ 5:00pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Says the moron who can't even spell lawsuit...

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 11:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          This is no different than suing the Bride at a wedding because her wedding planner didn't get permission from the copyright holder to play the particular song used for the first dance.

          Except, of course, that the Bride has no other relationship with the wedding planner, whereas Trump is quite literally in charge of the Trump election campaign. Best practice, of course, would be to direct the cease and desist letter to the Trump Campaign's legal department, but that's a courtesy rather than a legal requirement and directing it to the CEO equivalent is perfectly acceptable. Honestly, the entire cease and desist letter is basically a courtesy, and is barely related to any theoretical court filing.

          Or in other words, this type of letter is normally a courtesy, sometimes a PR stunt, and never a legal document which contains specific information about real or theoretical court filings. So yes, suing "Donald Trump, Individual" won't go anywhere, but informing "Donold Trump, head of the Trump Election Campaign" that he does not have permission to make use of your work is a normal opening move (with no other legal significance).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Dave P., 31 Oct 2018 @ 4:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "This is no different than suing the Bride at a wedding because her wedding planner didn't get permission from the copyright holder to play the particular song used for the first dance." I take the point but in the UK, I understand a private function can use any music it likes, with impunity. It's only if the venue or event is open to the public that some sort of licensing is supposed to be involved.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2018 @ 9:27am

        Re: Re:

        He doesn’t need the money? LOL You think all musicians are billionaires, don’t you?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 11:10am

    To say that the GOP members are tone deaf is a bit of an understatement but this is outright and blatant, worse than his wife wearing that stupid jacket.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 11:37am

    Full letter URL

    The full letter can be downloaded at:
    https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/5024418/Copy-of-Pharrell-Williams-cease-and-desist.pdf

    (It really only adds a one-sentence demand to the twitter-pic of the first page... but hey, for completeness...)

    Ehud

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 11:43am

    Incompetence with this administration you say? How is that possible with such a stable genius behind the reigns!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:36pm

      Re:

      Because his genius is restricted to the stable? "Behind the reigns". I see what you did there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:40pm

        Re: Re:

        it's a shame that suck incompetence is beating you... what does this say about your team? If such incompetence was able to lose to it?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 4:33pm

        Re: Re:

        "Stable genius" is the intelligence level of the first person to think to close the stable gate... long after all the horses have bolted.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 12:05pm

    How about we pass a law that says a sitting President is barred from campaigning except the year of his re-election? Obama started a terrible trend when he spent most of his last year in office traveling across the country in Air Force One campaigning for Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, and this past year Trump has been as bad or worse with his constant barnstorming on the public dime.

    Between the campaign trail and the golf course, Obama and Trump obviously had little time left to be actually working and earning their pay. It's amazing that more people are not outraged when their president (or "not my president") turns out to be such a freeloader.

    Hopefully it would not take a Constitutional Amendment (or even a pretty, young intern) to get the president to spend more time in his White House office and less on the golf course and campaign trail.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:01pm

      Re:

      How about we pass a law that says a sitting President is barred from campaigning except the year of his re-election?

      How about we don’t pass a law that would infringe upon the Constitutionally-protected right of an elected official to speak freely to the general public on practically any given subject.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Christenson, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:28pm

        Re: Re:

        On the contrary, Mr Stone, how about we pass a law *requiring* the president to open his mouth and remove all doubt about his idiocy???

        lol

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 3:18pm

        Re: Re:

        Fair enough, but the Constitution doesn't require they be able to use all the resources of the Presidency to do that. If we said the use of Air Force One for campaigning needed to be recorded as a campaign contribution, he'd quickly reach the contribution limit.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:10pm

      Re:

      "Obama started a terrible trend when he spent most of his last year in office traveling across the country in Air Force One campaigning for Hillary Clinton and other Democrats"

      As if no other president had ever done such a thing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:32pm

        Re: Re:

        Even Obama-friendly ABC News called his guerilla campaigning "unparalleled in modern U.S. history."

        https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/president-obamas-campaign-blitz-hillary-clinton-histo ric/story?id=43249593

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 2:55pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Perhaps reading multiple sources for the same story could provide insight?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Too Much Coffee Man, 30 Oct 2018 @ 3:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Meanwhile Trump has been campaigning since he won the election.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 3:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Even Obama-friendly ABC News called his guerilla campaigning "unparalleled in modern U.S. history."

          The word "guerilla" does not appear in that article.

          However, you are correct that it describes Obama campaigning for Clinton as "unparalleled in modern U.S. history."

          And right after that, it says this:

          One factor is that most outgoing two-term presidents lack the political capital to bestow on their party’s nominees.

          In 2008, for instance, President George W. Bush, with his sagging approval numbers, was more of a liability than an asset to candidate John McCain. During the campaign, Bush’s role was reserved almost exclusively for fundraising in private for McCain.

          And in 2000, even though President Bill Clinton had a solid approval rating above the 50 percent mark, his personal scandals kept him sidelined from a prominent role in then–Vice President Al Gore’s campaign.

          And this:

          In 1988, when then–Vice President George H.W. Bush was running to succeed the popular Ronald Reagan, the Bush campaign did not utilize Reagan as Hillary Clinton’s campaign has used Obama, in part because of concerns that the towering Reagan might overshadow the candidate.

          “Bush was seen as not as strong or as masculine as Reagan. He needed to establish himself,” Mayer said. “There was a machismo, trying to achieve some machismo.”

          And the last time before 1988 that a president was term-limited out of office was Eisenhower.

          So of course Obama campaigning for Clinton was "unparalleled in modern U.S. history" -- it was only the fourth time in the past 50 years that a president was term-limited out, and the other three times, the nominee for the president's party asked the president not to campaign for him.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:46pm

      ButObama

      Drink!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 2:46pm

      Re:

      How about we pass a law that says a sitting President is barred from campaigning except the year of his re-election?

      The 1st Amendment would like to have a word with you.

      Obama started a terrible trend when he spent most of his last year in office traveling across the country in Air Force One campaigning for Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, and this past year Trump has been as bad or worse with his constant barnstorming on the public dime.

      Sure. And the proper response is to (a) call that out and (b) make your voice heard at the ballot box. Not pass an unconstitutional law that restricts freedom of expression, no matter which party is in control.

      Hopefully it would not take a Constitutional Amendment (or even a pretty, young intern) to get the president to spend more time in his White House office and less on the golf course and campaign trail.

      Of course, there are some who will argue that having the President doing non-Presidential things... may actually be good for the country in the long run....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 12:30pm

    A shame there is no option to flag the article as “abusive/trolling/spam”.

    As for the C&D, it is surprising that counsel does not appear to have considered either the proper legal party (as already noted almost certainly a corporate entity) or the possibility that the event was arguably for a dual purpose (I.e., to rally voters and communicate with the public on a matter of national importance...the latter raising the question of 28 USC 1498 applying).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 12:50pm

      Re:

      lol

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 12:55pm

      Re:

      As I mentioned, it's a publicity stunt.

      That said, the ignorance of how the legal system in the US work, from arrests, bail, civil filings, etc. that I see here daily is, to coin a phrase, "deplorable".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:14pm

        Re: Re:

        The GOP playing the Happy song at one of their victory tours eleven hours after the horrible massacre at the church is not deplorable?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Bamboo Harvester (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:43pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Frankly, it was most likely an oversight. Or do you think Republicans are so organized that they can put on an event in less than eleven hours?

          The event was set up weeks ago, and the playlist probably hasn't been gone over since.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 2:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Umm - no.

            I'm suggesting that the GOP does/did not care.

            I'll try that "oversight" excuse next time my ignorant self indulgence causes me to "overlook" something that I should've known was important to the populace but I really don't give a shit about.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              JEDIDIAH, 31 Oct 2018 @ 6:18am

              Oh please...

              No. You are just expecting an absurd standard to be applied because it suits you politically.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2018 @ 6:31am

                Re: Oh please...

                An absurd (unwritten?) standard that has been in place and followed by every sitting president ... you mean that one?

                Yeah, the one that says what kind of person you are, what you care about and to whom you show empathy - which apparently many politicians lack.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:19pm

      Re:

      "A shame there is no option to flag the article as “abusive/trolling/spam”."

      Indeed, I had to scroll up to the top of the page to re-check to see who wrote the article, as it didn't seem at all like the Mike Masnick I once knew to be so brazenly attacking his own fans and supporters like that. But unless this page was somehow hacked, those comments were indeed his. Sad.

      Maybe it's a symptom of living in the Age of Trump, when civil, level-headed people are increasingly becoming more and more uncivil.

      Also, it's generally unwise to reveal that you're being upset by critical comments. That's the very thing that trolls hunger for more than life itself. Of course we've all heard that a million times over, and sorry, but it's still worth repeating. Injecting snarky trollbait comments into the body of an article is more likely to draw flack than silence dissenters.

      While that's often the whole intent of baiting the audience, and a common tactic of young upstarts to get a flurry of page views and instant popularity (or notoriety, either way the pays the same), it's simply out of place for a respected author with an established history.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 2:51pm

      Re:

      A shame there is no option to flag the article as “abusive/trolling/spam”.

      Is it really?

      As for the C&D, it is surprising that counsel does not appear to have considered either the proper legal party (as already noted almost certainly a corporate entity)

      Sending a C&D to the politician for a campaign is not surprising. Any lawsuit (if there is one, which there may not be) would certainly be against the correct entity.

      the possibility that the event was arguably for a dual purpose (I.e., to rally voters and communicate with the public on a matter of national importance...the latter raising the question of 28 USC 1498 applying).

      OMG. You're not serious, are you? This would get laughed out of court so fast...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Igualmente69 (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 12:30pm

    People are killed every day, and it is tragic, every time. What about those people, who aren't killed in so-called mass shootings? Using your reasoning, no one can ever have political rallies. What is the line? How many people have to die in a place at a time for it to be inappropriate? Does it count if it is in another country? I don't think you have thought your position through, because it doesn't make sense. I am not defending Trump, and the thought of being at a rally and hearing the idiots cheer as he spouts inane bullshit is not pleasant, but there is nothing wrong with holding a rally after a a traumatic event. People have to continue to live; postponing a rally doesn't do a single thing to help stop violence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 12:39pm

      Re:

      Trump's rally is now forever bound to those tragic deaths in the minds of many. At the very least, the idea that he doesn't give a shit is now well known. That was a bad political decision.

      Playing unlicensed music at his rally is just icing on the cake. I hope the RNC gets sued hard. Our political leaders need to be held to a higher standard than the public they supposedly serve.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:12pm

        Re: Re:

        Funny how no one here expressed any concerns about the then President participating in an election rally in Las Vegas on 9/12/2012 for his re-election given what had taken place the prior evening at the Benghazi consulate.

        TD would be wise to stick with what it has some measure of expertise in, and to avoid partisan political statements that denigrate members of its community.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:15pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Did they play the Happy Song?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:49pm

          ButbutbutBengazi

          That’s a classic one right there. You’d be wise to stick to Whatabous that your target audience can remember through a haze of opiates, cheap beer, and cholostiral medication.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:11pm

      Re:

      Your position is that you have no position and that there can never be any sort of line in any situation.

      Which is of course ridiculous.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:17pm

      Re:

      I doubt they are talking about holding a rally, perhaps it is the playing of the Happy Song?

      Why would anyone be happy after having heard of such a horrific needless slaughter of innocent lives. Because they are demented soul less little people.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Oct 2018 @ 2:41pm

      Re:

      People are killed every day, and it is tragic, every time. What about those people, who aren't killed in so-called mass shootings?

      What about them?

      What is the line? How many people have to die in a place at a time for it to be inappropriate?

      If you can't tell when it is and when it is not appropriate to hold a celebratory rally, you don't belong in politics. Full stop. It does no good to play the trollish game you are playing, other than make you look like a rationalizing asshole.

      It is not merely the fact that people were killed, but the facts surrounding the murder. Most people get that. Rationalizing assholes don't.

      Don't be the latter.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 3:22pm

        Re: Re:

        If you can't tell when it is and when it is not appropriate to hold a celebratory rally, you don't belong in politics. Full stop.

        "You don't belong in politics" is the history of the Trump campaign, isn't it? He and his followers feed off stuff like that. There's no such thing as bad publicity anymore.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:28pm

    About fifty people a day, every single day, are murdered in the United States.

    Does Mr. Williams believes his music can never be played again, since it dishonors the memory of those murdered?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Christenson, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:34pm

      Re: There *is* a problem....

      Not just 50 per day murdered...there are many *much* more common ways to die than a widely-publicised mass shooting.

      Automobiles, suicide by gun, alcohol, drug ODs...heart disease, cancer....

      But if you agree we are going to share this outbreak of terrorism, it is nothing to be happy about.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 2:13pm

        Re: Re: There *is* a problem....

        I was unaware that some people go around after murders and play the Happy Song to the surviving family members, this is rather sick and demented .. are you sure about this?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:38pm

      Re:

      Not in public without a license.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    brad, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:50pm

    Another article by a racist hateful corporate shill. Time to shut down TechDirt for being a hate website.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 1:55pm

    * Hey, I get that some of you are going to be upset about this line, and will come up with all sorts of bullshit rationalizing and excuses for why the rally was appropriate, and all I will say to you is: make better life choices, and maybe, take a serious look at yourself in the mirror and ask "what the fuck happened to me?"

    this is exactly the sort of tone modern media needs to start taking towards trump supporters non-stop, because holy shit, look what you idiots did to the country

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 31 Oct 2018 @ 6:22am

      Don't even go there.

      What happened to me? I was alienated by people who will call me all sorts of foul names for not supporting each and everyone of their candidates or policies. I was alienated by people who embrace censorship when they think it suits them. I was alienated by people who practice racism disguised as identity politics. I was alienated by people that advocate Jim Crow style lynchings. I was alienated by people that advocate political violence against people they will casually hang a dire label on.

      That's just how you offend my liberal values. I haven't even gotten started about issues of self interest.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mike Masnick (profile), 31 Oct 2018 @ 10:09am

        Re: Don't even go there.

        What happened to me? I was alienated by people who will call me all sorts of foul names for not supporting each and everyone of their candidates or policies.

        And do you also criticize all the people who attack non-Trump/non-GOP candidates? Because that happens on both sides of the traditional political divide.

        I was alienated by people who embrace censorship when they think it suits them.

        Like Trump calling for media to be shut down, or costs increased, as punishment for covering him accurately?

        I was alienated by people who practice racism disguised as identity politics.

        Really?

        I was alienated by people that advocate Jim Crow style lynchings. I was alienated by people that advocate political violence against people they will casually hang a dire label on.

        Like the Proud Boys?

        I mean, look, you can point to people like that on either side. There are crazy, stupid and violent people all over the place. The sick thing is when you define your own political views on hating just one side acting dumb. That suggests it has nothing to do with the reasons you state, and everything to do with rationalizing your own silly views.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2018 @ 9:27pm

    Its a cease and desist letter. It doesn't threaten a lawsuit, it simply states that he is the right holder and that his rights were violated because the music was not properly licensed.
    He points out in addition the inappropriateness however that isn't against the law

    If the campaign were to use the song or any of his songs again without licensing the response might indeed come in the form of a lawsuit. One that might be very difficult to fight given the cease and desist letter for the previous use.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2018 @ 12:20am

    "I hate trademark bullshit unless it's against someone I dislike" - Mike Masnick

    #OrangeManBad

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 31 Oct 2018 @ 12:33am

      Re:

      "I hate trademark bullshit unless it's against someone I dislike" - Mike Masnick

      Huh? Where have I ever said that. Indeed in this very post, I point out that the trademark claim is clearly bullshit. And, in the past, we supported Trump's claims when other artists (who were covered by ASCAP/BMI) made similar complaints. In this case, that's not the case.

      That's all. It is not a commentary on Trump to point out which side has a stronger legal argument. The commentary about Trump being an inconsiderate asshole is entirely separate from the legal analysis.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2018 @ 6:11am

        Re: Re:

        Huh? Where have I ever said that.

        Apparently it doesn't matter. If you didn't say it, the Trumpers will be more than happy to make shit up.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2018 @ 9:24am

      Re:

      How's that John Steele defense fund coming along bro?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Cressman, 31 Oct 2018 @ 6:02am

    Is it?

    Is it the President who actually put on the rally? Or was it the RNC? Or the local candidate?

    Sure, the President was the speaker of honor, but it seems that perhaps the letter should be directed at the organization that put on the rally, instead of making a political statement and sending it to the president himself.

    Also, if the campaign, RNC, or whatever, licenses it through GMR, does the artist have any say? Seems like that's not the case with other "rights" organizations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2018 @ 11:38am

    TD is PC.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2018 @ 12:09pm

    You guys really think the RNC likes Trump more than anyone else?

    Get real, they don't. The establishment doesn't like him because he isn't part of it (that and he is a fucking idiot.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 31 Oct 2018 @ 11:07pm

      They like him for the fact that he will give them conservative judges on federal courts. Combined with the (possibly soon-to-be former) full control of Congress, the GOP currently controls practically all three branches of the federal government.

      Besides: If they did not like him, they would be doing to him what they did to Obama after the 2010 midterms. I have yet to see them stonewall and hamstring the entirety of Trump’s agenda regardless of what it is, so…yeah…

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 11:38am

    Hmmm - should the asshole in charge lose such a case, the public pays the bill. Not one nickel will come from the pocket of the AIC. So why should the AIC actually give a shit, as long as you're footing the bill?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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