Take down “doesn’t diminish the damages that have been already sustained,” lawyer says.
Twitter has eliminated a marketing campaign video for Pres. Donald Trump‘s that’s the topic of a copyright infringement lawsuit from “Electrical Avenue” singer Eddy Grant first reported by Billboard on Tuesday (Sept. 1). The motion got here on the identical day that legal professional Brian Caplan of Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt LLC filed the go well with in U.S. District Court docket within the Southern District of New York, claiming that the clip denigrating Trump’s White Home rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, illegally made use of Grants signature 1983 hit “Electrical Avenue” with out permission.
“Twitter’s take down of the infringing video doesn’t diminish the damages that have been already sustained by the wrongful conduct at challenge,” Caplan tells Billboard in a press release. “President Trump tweeted the infringing video to hundreds of thousands of his followers, and the tweet was re-tweeted many occasions. President Trump can admonish China for not respecting U.S. mental property legislation whereas he concurrently infringes U.S. copyright legislation frequently.”
The go well with is tied to a weird animated advert posted on Twitter by Trump’s marketing campaign on Aug. 12 which depicts a cartoon model of Democrat Biden driving an old style practice automotive whereas a rushing practice that claims “Trump Pence” and “KAG 2020” zips by way of a desolate city.
There isn’t any context for the usage of the music, which performs because the animated Biden hand-pumps his method by way of the empty streets in a handcar labeled “Biden President: Your Hair Smells Terrific” whereas random snippets of previous quotes and interviews are performed. The lyrics of the music, which embody the traces, “Down within the streets there’s violence/ And lots of work to be accomplished,” have been written by the Black Guyanese-British singer in response to the 1981 race riots in Brixton, England. The monitor spent 5 weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard Sizzling 100 chart in 1983.
Caplan earlier instructed Billboard that one other legal professional for Grant, Wallace Collins III, despatched a stop and desist letter to the president’s legal professional asking that the 55-second video be taken down the day after the clip was posted. “You’ll want to get a synchronization license once you sync music to video,” Caplan stated, noting that Grant owns the grasp recording and was not requested for permission to make use of the music, which the go well with stresses has a “legitimate and subsisting” copyright.
A spokesperson for the Trump marketing campaign has not responded to a number of requests for remark.
In keeping with the lawsuit, “defendants have infringed and proceed to infringe Plaintiffs’ copyrights within the Composition and the Recording by creating, producing, distribution, selling, promoting, performing via digital audiovisual transmission, and in any other case commercially exploiting the Infringing Video, and/or authorizing others to do the identical, with out Plaintiffs’ authority or consent.”
“That is copyright 101,” Caplan instructed Billboard after submitting the go well with. “You’ll want to have a license and no person in his marketing campaign with a straight face might say he has absolutely the proper to do that.” The go well with demanding a jury trial sought the disgorgement of income, the fee of affordable licensing charges and statutory damages, in addition to a takedown of the video — which previous to its takedown had greater than 352,000 likes and 95,000 retweets — and injunctive reduction.
Trump has continued to play songs by artists together with the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Neil Younger, Weapons ‘N Roses and plenty of extra acts regardless of the artists repeatedly requesting that he cease utilizing their music at his rallies. Younger sued the Trump marketing campaign in early August for copyright infringement, citing unauthorized use of his songs “Rockin’ within the Free World” and “Satan’s Sidewalk” for what he termed “a divisive, un-American marketing campaign of ignorance and hate.”
The claims within the go well with embody two counts of copyright infringement, with a judgement demand of precise damages of as much as $150,000, a everlasting injunction, impounding/destruction of all copies of the video and legal professional’s charges.