Elton John, Lionel Richie, Mick Jagger, dozens more musicians unite to implore politicians to stop using their songs

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Elton John, Lionel Richie, Mick Jagger, dozens more musicians unite to implore politicians to stop using their songs

More than 50 musicians have signed a letter directed at politicians on both the left and right imploring them to ask for permission before using th

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More than 50 musicians have signed a letter directed at politicians on both the left and right imploring them to ask for permission before using their work at public events.

Popular artists like Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Lionel Richie and Linkin Park signed a letter from the Artist Rights Alliance addressed to both Democratic and Republican national, congressional and senatorial committees asking that they all pledge to stop using songs for political purposes without express permission from the artist or copyright holder.

“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 reads.

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The letter continues: “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. For artists that do choose to engage politically in campaigns or other contexts, this kind of unauthorized public use confuses their message and undermines their effectiveness. Music tells powerful stories and drives emotional connection and engagement – that’s why campaigns use it, after all! But doing so without permission siphons away that value.”

Mick Jagger, Lionel Richie and Elton John signed a letter to Democratic and Republican politicians asking them to stop using their songs without permission at public events.

Mick Jagger, Lionel Richie and Elton John signed a letter to Democratic and Republican politicians asking them to stop using their songs without permission at public events.
(AP/Getty Images)

The Artist Rights Alliance goes on to note that in addition to clear legal issues that stem from an artist having to speak up about improper use of their material, it can often confuse the voting public and distort the campaign process.

“It should be anathema to any honest candidate to play off this kind of uncertainty or falsely leave the impression of an artist’s or songwriter’s support.”

Other artists who attached their name to the letter include Green Day, Elivs Costello, John Mellencamp, Lorde, Sia, Sheryl Crow, R.E.M. and Cyndi Lauper. Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler added their names separately from their respective bands as well.

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“It (sic) an issue that has come up in previous election cycles,” Ted Kalo, the executive director of the Artists Rights Alliance, told Variety. “But has happened with much greater frequency in this cycle, and that caught our attention. At a time when Americans are joining together to stand up for their rights and demand more of politicians and big institutions, the energy to just not take it anymore was overwhelming. Rather than only taking this on piecemeal, we felt it was time to confront this problem in numbers with a simple request: Ask and receive permission first.”

Earlier this month, Neil Young penned an open letter to Donald Trump after the president’s use of one of his songs at a Fourth of July event in South Dakota. Young, however, is not one of the artists who signed the letter.

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The complete list of artists who signed the letter is below:

Aerosmith

Alanis Morissette

Amanda Shires

Ancient Future

Andrew McMahon

Artist Rights Alliance

B-52s

Beth Nielsen Chapman

Blondie

Butch Walker

CAKE

Callie Khouri

Courtney Love

Cyndi Lauper

Dan Navarro

Daniel Martin Moore

Duke Fakir

Elizabeth Cook

Elton John

Elvis Costello

Erin McKeown

Fall Out Boy

Grant-Lee Phillips

Green Day

Gretchen Peters

Ivan Barias

Jason Isbell

Jewel

Joe Perry

John McCrea

John Mellencamp

Keith Richards

Kurt Cobain estate

Lera Lynn

Lionel Richie

Linkin Park

Lorde

Lykke Li

Maggie Vail

Mary Gauthier

Matt Nathanson

Matthew Montfort

Michelle Branch

Mick Jagger

Okkervil River

Pearl Jam

Panic! At The Disco

Patrick Carney

R.E.M.

Regina Spektor

Rosanne Cash

Sheryl Crow

Sia

Steven Tyler

T Bone Burnett

Tift Merritt

Thomas Manzi

Train

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