The Family of Tom Petty Issues a Cease and Desist Letter to the Trump Campaign

The family of late musician Tom Petty has issued a cease and desist notice to the Trump campaign after one of Petty’s songs was played at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Attorney Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP is on the radio with PYX106 explaining what cease and desist letters are and how they work.

Please give it a listen or read the transcript below.

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Cantara: It’s PYX 106. It’s Cantara from “Quinn and Cantara” on with Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. 1-800-law-1010, Paul, you’re really into phase three, huh? You’re out at breakfast this morning?

Paul: We are at the 76 Diner and I get to have this conversation with you here. It feels good. I mean, some version of normalcy. Although, I would say I’ve never called you from a diner. So, this is a first.

Cantara: Well, we’re gonna make you look cool and I think it’s a simple question but let’s just settle this once and for all. President Trump used a Tom Petty song at the rally in Tulsa. Petty’s family issues a cease and desist. We see this all the time. What is it and do they even work, Paul?

Paul: Yeah, so the cease and desist is usually a precursor to what could be a lawsuit if there’s a trademark violation, right? So, these songs are copyrighted. They’re protected. And in order to play it, generally at a rally or play it anywhere, even play it on the radio, right? You need a public performance license. So, that’s basic agreement between the music user and the owner of the copyrighted material. So, here, assuming the stadium didn’t have that agreement, which it appears they did not, probably, he needed to get one and he didn’t.

Cantara: As an individual, can I just get that license?

Paul: Yeah, there’s about three groups out there that sort of have access to virtually all songs. So, if you’re gonna run it, you can contact those agencies and it’s really pennies. But again, you need permission. So, right now, I kinda looked at it this morning. Not only has the Lennon family contacted The Trump Administration when he used “Here Comes the Sun,” but Queen…

Cantara: The Stones.

Paul: … “We Are the Champions,” Rolling Stones, Neil Young. They’ve all said, “Don’t use it,” right?

Cantara: Springsteen.

Paul: So, if they did reach out, the answer would probably be no. And you know, there’s a thing called ‘fair use exception’. You can use it if you’re using it for parody, or education, or news. I don’t think they fall under that category, although there’s an argument. But usually what happens is you get a cease and desist letter and then you cease using it. And it just sort of ends there, which will probably be the case here, but you know, if they play it again, you know, the family would kinda weigh their options, I’m sure.

Cantara: What’s on the breakfast menu for you? You seem like a fruit bowl kinda guy.

Paul: I know. I’m gonna go lots of protein, lots of eggs, and if I sneak in a little crispy bacon here because we’re celebrating. First time back.

Cantara: Well, enjoy your breakfast. Thanks for the time this morning, Paul.

Paul: Okay. Talk soon.

Cantara: All right. Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. 1-800-law-1010, Thanks again, Paul.