Silversun Pickups to Mitt Romney: Cease and desist with our song

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

From time to time, you will hear about an artist objecting to a politician’s use of his or her music or art in the politician’s campaign.

Miami readers might remember that John Mellencamp asked Sen. John McCain to stop using his music at campaign events, and members of the band The Foo Fighters have also said they don’t like their songs being played at political events.

Now, it’s the Silversun Pickups’ turn.

The Los Angeles-based indie band recently sent a cease-and-desist letter to Mitt Romney’s campaign, asking it to stop using its song “Panic Switch” at campaign events.

A band member said the band did not agree with Romney’s politics and did not want fans to think it did.

Romney’s campaign said it had the right to use the music because it had a “blanket license” with the music group that manages the Silversun Pickups, but said it would honor the band’s request and would no longer use the song.
Now, we are not bringing this story up to make any sort of statement either way about Romney, his political views or politics in general. Rather, we wanted to mention it because it is a good illustration of how artists can use legal remedies to exercise their privileges and carry out their goals.

In order to make full use of your legal rights as an artist, you may need to have a consultation with an attorney. Do not make the choice of whom you will hire to represent your interest lightly. It’s a good idea to gather information about all attorneys in your area before you commit to anything. If you’re interested in starting that process, you might want to make the Entertainment Law page on our website one of your stops.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, “Silversun Pickups Send Cease And Desist Letter to Romney Campaign,” David Greenwald, Aug. 15, 2012