When Donald Trump chose to blare ‘Please Don’t Stop The Music’ whilst giving out free Trump t-shirts at a rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee Rihanna was appositely pissed.
Rihanna took to Twitter, lamenting the use of her music in the “tragic” rallies, noting that “me or my people would never be at, or around” the events.
Rihanna’s lawyer sent the White House a cease-and-desist letter and BMI removed the Barbadian songstress’ work from a blanket “political entities license” agreement used for campaigns.
The BMI Music License for Political Entities or Organisations has been around for about a decade and covers music played at political campaign events. In this case, BMI’s agreement with Donald J. Trump for President Inc. is nullified because of a clause which states that if a BMI songwriter or publisher objects to the use of her or his song, the publisher may exclude that song from the license.
Watch: Rihanna – Don’t Stop The Music
However, entertainment attorney Kamal Moo has told Mashable that the music licensing realm is a lot trickier than one might expect. He said that while Rihanna is well within her right to revoke the campaign’s use of her songs, the political entities license used by BMI may fall under the category of a traveling license, which means it covers campaign events on the road.
What’s more, As Mashable points out, BMI also has licensing agreements with certain venues including the Los Angeles Staples Center. So using this loophole in the various venues’ blanket performance license, if Trump held a rally at a BMI-licensed venue, he might still be able to use music from the BMI catalogue.
“That could be an issue,” Moo said. “I would hope that they would be clear that they can’t play this in any venue at all.”
Another attorney, Doron F. Eghbali, has said the revocation should cover all events; meaning Trump should not have the right to use Rihanna’s music.
Rihanna is the latest in a growing series of musicians who are asking that US President Donald Trump refrains from using their music at rallies. She joins Neil Young, Pharrell Williams, and Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose.