Stop Using My Song: 35 Artists Who Fought Politicians Over Their Music

From Springsteen vs. Reagan to Neil Young vs. the Donald

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Gretchen Peters vs. Sarah Palin
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Rob Watkins/Photoshot/Getty Images, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images29/35

Gretchen Peters vs. Sarah Palin

When: 2008
Song: "Independence Day"
Controversy: Peters won a CMA Song of the Year award for her powerful 1993 country tune, which was recorded and released by Martina McBride. When the track was used to introduce Palin at a rally, the songwriter lashed out, saying, "The fact that the McCain/Palin campaign is using a song about an abused woman as a rallying cry for their Vice Presidential candidate, a woman who would ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest, is beyond irony. They are co-opting the song, completely overlooking the context and message, and using it to promote a candidate who would set women's rights back decades."
Result: Instead of suing the campaign to make them stop playing the song, Peters donated all of the election season royalties from "Independence Day" to Planned Parenthood. She also encouraged others to make similar donations under the name "Sarah Palin." The organization raised a million dollars during that period.

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