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Prince estate tells Donald Trump to stop playing ‘Purple Rain’ at campaign rallies

October 13, 2018

Relatives of Prince have asked President Trump to stop playing “Purple Rain” at campaign rallies, echoing similar requests made previously on behalf of fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees ranging from Aerosmith to Queen.

“The Prince Estate has never given permission to President Trump or the White House to use Prince’s song and have requested that they cease all use immediately,” the late singer’s half-brother, Omarr Baker, said in a statement Thursday.

Representatives for neither the White House nor Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign immediately responded to messages seeking comment.

“Purple Rain” was heard playing prior to Mr. Trump taking the stage at several rallies held in advance of next month’s midterm elections, including as recently as an event this past Wednesday in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Prince’s legal team relentlessly protected his material from unauthorized use prior to his passing in 2016, and a copyright case involving a YouTube video of a baby dancing to his song “Let’s Go Crazy” notably became the subject of a lengthy federal appeals case that nearly made its way to the Supreme Court.

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, has been on the receiving end of similar cease-and-desist requests sent on behalf of Prince’s peers, including Aerosmith and Queen, as well as The Rolling Stones and Neil Young, among others.

Attorneys for Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler sent a cease-and-desist letter to the White House in August ordering the president to stop playing the song “Livin’ on the Edge” at rallies, roughly three years after taking similar action in response to Mr. Trump using the tune “Dream On” on the campaign tail without approval.

Queen complained after Mr. Trump took the stage to “We Are the Champions” during the 2016 Republican National Convention, roughly two months after lawyers for the Stones declared the band’s entire catalog off-limits to Mr. Trump in light of his campaign using “Start Me Up” without permission.

Mr. Young was the first artist to raise objecting with Mr. Trump using their music, and within hours of the president declaring his candidacy. Representatives for Mr. Young issued a statement shortly after “Rockin’ in the Free World” was played without permission during Mr. Trump’s candidacy announcement in June 2015.

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