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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K'naan vs. Mitt Romney
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Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images6/35

K'naan vs. Mitt Romney

When: 2012
Song: "Wavin' Flag"
Controversy: The Somali-Canadian musician's song, featuring assists from Will.i.am and David Guetta, gained traction in the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and then took off even more when Coca-Cola used a version of it as the anthem of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. When Romney played it during a victory rally in Florida, K'naan was deluged with Twitter messages accusing him of selling out to a conservative politician. The musician threatened legal action against the Romney campaign, explaining, "I'm for immigrants. I'm for poor people, and they don't seem to be what he's endorsing." He also added that he would "happily grant the Obama campaign use of my song without prejudice."
Result: Romney reps insisted they had permission through blanket licenses purchased from ASCAP and BMI, but said they would stop using the song out of respect for K'naan's views.

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