Pharrell Williams threatens to sue Trump for using ‘Happy’ at rally on day of Pittsburgh shooting
A lawyer for Pharrell Williams sent a cease-and-desist letter to U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday after he played the artists’ song Happy at a political rally on the same day as the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
The rally in Indiana was held just hours after the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, where 11 people lost their lives.
“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,” lawyer Howard E. King wrote. “There was nothing ‘happy’ about the tragedy inflicted upon our country on Saturday and no permission was granted for your use of this song for this purpose.”
According to William’s lawyer, the artist “has not” and “will not” grant Trump permission to “otherwise broadcast or disseminate any of his music.”
William’s legal team also noted that the use of the song was not only poorly timed, but it was in violation of “copyright infringement” and “trademark rights.”
“Demand is hereby made that you cease and desist from any further unauthorized use of Pharrell Williams’ music,” the letter stated.
This is not Trump’s first cease and desist letter from a musician.
In August, Steven Tyler sent a cease-and-desist letter through his lawyer Dina LaPolt to the White House, accusing Trump of willful infringement in broadcasting Aerosmith’s 1993 hit song Livin’ on the Edge, which was written by Joe Perry, Mark Hudson and Tyler.
According to Variety, the notice accused Trump of “falsely implying that our client … 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 song was captured in a tweet by CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
In the cease-and-desist notice, Tyler’s lawyer cited the Lanham Act, which prohibits “any false designation or misleading description or representation of fact … likely to cause confusion … as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person.”
R.E.M., Prince’s estate and Queen are among the other artists who have objected to Trump’s use of their music.
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