Wednesday, October 14, 2015
After successfully convincing Donald Trump to stop using his song, “Dream On”, at campaign events, Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler says the situation was part of a bigger issue involving copyright protection.
“This week, I sent a letter to Donald Trump's campaign asking to not use my music at political rallies,” wrote Tyler in an op-ed piece for The Huffington Post. “My intent was not to make a political statement, but to make one about the rights of my fellow music creators.”
Trump agreed to Tyler’s request – after two cease and desist orders – to drop “Dream On” from his playlist even though his office had properly paid for its use in public assemblies as required.
Tyler’s lawyer Dina LaPolt said that outdated regulations regarding compensation and permission from artists are central to the discussion.
“The issue here is the consent decrees that govern [music licensers] ASCAP and BMI,” explains LaPolt. “These consent decrees were enacted by the Department of Justice pre-WWII and have not been updated since before the iPod was developed. They are outdated and do not allow songwriters and music publishers to negotiate in a free market.”
For his part, Tyler says he has been proactively involved behind the scenes to help future generations of music creators gain more control over their work.
“In February, I became a founding member of the GRAMMY Creators' Alliance,” Tyler writes. “The Alliance joined many big names in the music business, not for ourselves, but for the up-and-coming songwriters and artists. To bring hope. To try and change laws that are hindering the music biz. To make sure that songwriters and artists can practice their art without threat of extinction. To make sure those who practice their craft get paid fairly when others use their work.”
“The laws need to change,” sums up the Aerosmith frontman. “We have so many laws in America that control how we get paid for our music. Seventy-five percent of songwriters' income in the U.S. is regulated by the government? Too much government intervention in art and music is a bad thing.”
Tyler continues to work on his debut solo album, which is expected in 2016.
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