The White Stripes Are "Disgusted" By A Pro-Donald Trump Ad That Featured "Seven Nation Army"
Supporters of Donald Trump who created an ad called "Trump Triumphant" have come under fire for using a White Stripes song in the pro-Trump video. Apparently, "Seven Nation Army" was definitely not intended for Trump fans' purposes. In a Twitter note, Jack White's record label, Third Man Records, wrote, "The White Stripes would like to unequivocally state that they have nothing whatsoever to do with this video. They are disgusted by this association, and by the illegal use of their song."
This wasn't even the first time the Trump campaign or his supporters have been told off by an artist whose song they used. Earlier this year, Queen made it clear they did not want Trump using their classic song "We Are the Champions" after it was played during his entrance to the Republican National Convention in July, USA Today reported. Last year, Neil Young criticized the Trump campaign for playing his song "Rockin' In the Free World," according to Rolling Stone.
And Trump is far from the first political candidate to come under fire for using an artist's song during a campaign without permission. One of the most famous examples of a musician not wanting a candidate to use their song is that of Bruce Springsteen objecting to the use of "Born In the U.S.A." by Ronald Reagan in 1984.
Was the use of "Seven Nation Army" illegal in this circumstance? According to Rolling Stone, "copyright laws allow political candidates to use just about any song they want, as long as they're played at a stadium, arena or other venue that already has a public-performance license through a songwriters' association such as ASCAP or BMI."
Still, artists and their legal representation have plenty of room to maneuver within the law as well. If a candidate doesn't stop using their song, artists may be able to claim they are protecting their "right to publicity." For example, if Trump uses a song by the White Stripes, the band's image instantly gets linked to his. The White Stripes can then claim that this is negatively impacting their public image.
The Trump fan-made video which allegedly used "Seven Nation Army" has since been deleted, according to The A.V. Club. The White Stripes likely prefer this arrangement, since their manager, Ian Montone, told Pitchfork, "If you can’t find the video, great. Then our lawyers have done their job.”
If the Trump campaign had used "Seven Nation Army" in an actual campaign commercial without permission, it's likely they would have been in a great deal of legal trouble for not getting the appropriate permissions, according to Pitchfork. But for now, it seems like they're in the clear — in terms of this specific issue, at least.