The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry are among a lengthy list of artists who have signed an open letter to various political committees demanding any candidate receive permission for music use while on the campaign trail.
The diverse group of artists – which also includes Pearl Jam, Green Day, R.E.M., John Mellencamp and Courtney Love and the Kurt Cobain estate – signed the letter that was submitted via the Artist Rights Alliance. The letter was addressed to the following political committees: Republican National Committee, Democratic National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee.
The letter states, “As artists, activists, and citizens, we ask you to pledge that all candidates you support will seek consent from featured recording artists and songwriters before using their music in campaign and political settings. This is the only way to effectively protect your candidates from legal risk, unnecessary public controversy, and the moral quagmire that comes from falsely claiming or implying an artist’s support or distorting an artists’ expression in such a high stakes public way.”
The letter also states, “This is not a new problem. Or a partisan one. Every election cycle brings stories of artists and songwriters frustrated to find their work being used in settings that suggest endorsement or support of political candidates without their permission or consent. Being dragged unwillingly into politics in this way can compromise an artist’s personal values while disappointing and alienating fans – with great moral and economic cost.”
The letter continues, “For all these reasons, we urge you to establish clear policies requiring campaigns supported by your committees to seek the consent of featured recording artists, songwriters, and copyright owners before publicly using their music in a political or campaign setting. Funding, logistical support, and participation in committee programs, operations, and events should be contingent on this pledge, and its terms should be clearly stated in writing in your bylaws, operating guidelines, campaign manuals, or where you establish any other relevant rules, requirements, or conditions of support.”
The letter concludes with, “Please let us know by August 10th how you plan to accomplish these changes.”