We’ll write about a wider IP topic today, simply as an excuse to bring you the celebrity-packed music video called “Stop Using Our Songs” that demands politicians stop using music without artists’ permission.
The music video made its debut on the most recent episode of “Last Week Tonight,” with host John Oliver summing up the ongoing problem: “This happens every single election. It’s time for musicians to come together and take a stand.”
Cue the music and appearances by Usher, Cyndi Lauper, John Mellencamp, Sheryl Crow, Michael Bolton, Josh Groban, Nancy and Ann Wilson of ‘Heart,’ and others offering up lyrics like:
“Don’t use our songs. It just seems wrong. By the time this tune song is through, you’ll be lucky if we don’t sue.”
“It might seem appealing, but you’re just stealing.”
“You always use our music out of context anyway.”
As Oliver noted, the Republican Party has a long history of using music against the wishes of musicians and songwriters. FiveThirtyEight published an extensive list of cases where musicians showed what it refers to as “some form of discontent with presidential candidates using their music.” Here are just a few examples from the list:
- Bruce Springsteen objected to Ronald Reagan’s use of the song “Born in the U.S.A.” during the 1984 election.
- In 2000, Sting objected to both George W. Bush and Al Gore using “Brand New Day.”
- Boston objected to Mike Huckabee using “More Than a Feeling” in 2008.
- The Foo Fighters stopped John McCain from playing “My Hero.”
- Survivor objected to Mitt Romney using “Eye of the Tiger.”
- Tom Petty complained about Michele Bachmann using “American Girl” in 2012.
Here’s the “Stop Using Our Songs” video for your viewing pleasure (note that some of the language is not safe for work!). The entire segment is enjoyable, but if you want to view only the music video, skip to the 3:27 mark.