Mike Mills, who is the bassist R.E.M and one its founders, says that the band is “exploring all legal avenues” to prevent President Trump from using the group’s music at public rallies.
In a Twitter post he wrote: “We are aware that the President* @realDonaldTrump continues to use our music at his rallies. We are exploring all legal avenues to prevent this, but if that’s not possible please know that we do not condone the use our music by this fraud and con man.”
The post was seemingly in response to the president playing “Everybody Hurts” and “Losing My Religion” at a recent campaign rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The band, however, apparently has an uphill battle on their hands. This is because the president (and anyone else) is legally allowed to play R.E.M.’s music in public, as long as the venue has a public performance license from ASCAP, BMI, SESAC or whomever represents R.E.M.’s catalog.
According to legal experts, there is no precedent that would force Trump to cease and desist playing the band’s songs.
This is not the first time that the band has spoken out against Trump’s use their music. In 2015, they insisted that they did not “authorize or condone” his use “It’s The End the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” at a campaign rally.
In February last year, the band asked Twitter to take down a video that the president posted that used “Everybody Hurts.” They were successful in this case because the rules for using music in videos is different than for using it in public performances. It requires explicit permission from the copyright owners.
Other artists who have asked the president to stop using their music include:
- Guns N’ Roses
- Steven Tyler
- Neil Young
- The Rolling Stones