Remember “Electric Avenue”? Judge Declines to Dismiss Lawsuit Against Donald Trump Brought by Singer Eddy Grant for Using Record in Campaign Commercial
Loser, loser, loser. Donald Trump is a loser all the time.
United State District Judge John G. Koeltl has now ruled against Trump and his campaign for using Eddy Grant’s hit record, “Electric Avenue” without Grant’s permission in campaign commercial.
Grant and his publishing company sued the Trump campaign for copyright infringement. The campaign made a motion to dismiss. Judge Koeltl denied it.
Grant can move forward. He’s using top intellectual property lawyer Brian Caplan of Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt LLP, who will eat Trump and his people for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The judge writes in his opinion, issued yesterday: “On August 12, 2020, at or about 9:35 p.m., former President Trump published a Tweet from his personal Twitter account containing a fifty-five-second animated video. The video endorsed former President Trump’s 2020 presidential reelection campaign and sought to denigrate the Democratic
Party’s 2020 presidential nominee, now-President Joseph R. Biden. The video begins with a depiction of a high-speed red train bearing the words “Trump Pence KAG [Keep
America Great] 2020.”
“After the red train passes, the beginning of
Electric Avenue can be heard clearly, along with an excerpt of a
speech by President Biden. Around the same time, a slow-moving
handcar, operated by an animated likeness of President Biden,
comes into view bearing the words “Biden President: Your Hair
Smells Terrific.” The video~in particular the contrast
between the trains and the unflattering nature of the excerpted
language from President Biden~appears intended to criticize
President Biden and depict the strength of former President
Trump’s campaign. Grant’s song can be heard beginning at around
the fifteen-second mark of the video, and continues through the
duration of the fifty-five second video. “
The Trump campaign said their use of “Electric Avenue” was fair use. The court said no, loudly. The judge wrote:
“The defendants did not receive a license or Grant’s
permission to use the song in connection with the animated
video. In fact, one day after the Tweet was
published, Grant advised the defendants by letter about the
defendants’ perceived unauthorized use of Grant’s copyrights,
and demanded that the defendants cease and desist from further
“The creator of the video here made a wholesale copy of a
substantial portion of Grant’s music in order to make the
animation more entertaining. The video did not parody the music
or transform it in any way. The video’s overarching political
purpose does not automatically make this use transformative, and
the other fair use factors also favor the plaintiffs at this
stage. Accordingly, the defendants have failed to demonstrate
fair use as a matter of law. The defendants may reassert their
fair use defense at the summary judgment stage when there is a
more developed factual record.”
The “Electric Avenue” lawsuit is just one of many involving Trump and his flagrant disregard of copyright law. He’s used dozens of songs without permission, just raising the ire of the artists, the copyright holders, and the fans of the artists involved.