John Fogerty has once again spoken out against Donald Trump’s use of “Fortunate Son” at his campaign events, issuing a cease and desist letter demanding the president’s campaign refrain from doing so in the future.
“I object to the President using my song, ‘Fortunate Son’ in any way for his campaign,” the former Creedence Clearwater Revival singer wrote in a Tweet. “He is using my words and my voice to portray a message that I do not endorse.”
— John Fogerty (@John_Fogerty) October 16, 2020
“Therefore, I am issuing a ‘cease and desist’ order,” he continued. “I wrote this song because, as a veteran, I was disgusted that some people were allowed to be excluded from serving our country because they had access to political and financial privilege. I also wrote about wealthy people not paying their fair share of taxes. Mr. Trump is a prime example of both of these issues. The fact that Mr. Trump also fans the flames of hatred, racism and fear while rewriting recent history, is even more reason to be troubled by his use of my song.”
In the cease and desist letter, obtained by Rolling Stone, a lawyer for Fogerty told the Trump campaign that the use of “Fortunate Son” at the president’s rallies and events is “likely to cause confusion, mistake and deceive the public as to the affiliation, connection, sponsorship or association of President Trump by or with John Fogerty.” The letter claimed the use of the song constituted as “trademark infringement, unfair competition, false designation of origin and false description” in violation of U.S. code.
It continues: “We therefore demand that you expeditiously abstain from playing ‘Fortunate’ son or any other song written by or connected with John Fogerty at any political campaign rallies or events, and promptly notify us that the demand has been met. This matter is of great importance to our client, and we look forward to your prompt action.”
This issue first flared up in September when Trump played “Fortunate Son” as he walked off Air Force One right before a rally in Freeland, Michigan. “It’s a song I could’ve written now,” Fogerty said at the time. “And so I find it confusing, I would say, that the president has chosen to use my song for his political rallies, when in fact it seems like he is probably the fortunate son.”
Fogerty is far from the first artist to object to Trump using their music at a campaign events. In recent years, everyone from Aerosmith to Elton John, Guns N’ Roses, Neil Young, Phil Collins and the estate of Leonard Cohen have told the music to stop using their songs at rallies. Some have even taken legal action, but the copyright and licensing matters around the practice are complicated and the issues are unlikely to be settled until long after the election is over.