The rock group Queen was not pleased about Donald Trump using their anthem We Are The Champions for his entrance music at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Monday night.
Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, the group issued a terse message:
“An unauthorised use at the Republican Convention against our wishes – Queen”
This is the second time the band has objected to Trump using its music. In June, Queen guitarist Brian May said on his blog that Trump’s use of We Are The Champions at a campaign event was “was neither sought nor given.” He also said it was against Queen’s policy for their music to be used in political campaigns.
Despite the outrage, the convention likely didn’t infringe on any copyrights, and unauthorized use of music in political campaign events is commonplace. “What is clear is the use that they made last night is legal” said music and film lawyer Marc Jacobson, adding that venues can buy rights to play songs from music licensors like the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).
What isn’t so clear is if there “is a notion of implied endorsement that they [Queen] somehow support Trump,” Jacobson said.
“That’s the issue, does the use of the song during a political campaign imply an endorsement by the owners of the copyright of the song?” Jacobson said. “A lot of people think it does and a lot of people think it doesn’t, so it is up in the air and the law is not clear on the subject.”
Twitter users came to their own conclusions of the matter, saying the late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury— who was gay—is probably rolling in his grave over his song being played at a Republican Party convention.
In 2015, REM frontman Michael Stipe reacted with a little more fury to Trump using one of his band’s songs, telling the presumptive Republican nominee to “Go f—k yourself.”