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Twitter takes down Donald Trump campaign video for unlicensed music use

By | Published on Wednesday 10 April 2019

Donald Trump

Twitter has taken down a Donald Trump campaign video that was posted in preparation for the 2020 US presidential election, after the Warner Bros movie studio issued a takedown notice. The video used music from Batman film ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, which the studio says was used without a licence.

Yes, it’s that time again. Due to the unbelievably long run up to US elections, Trump is already campaigning to get a second go at this Presidential lark in 2020. If his tweet accompanying the now removed video is anything to go by, he’s once more using the slogan “make America great again”. Seems a bit weird to try to get elected by admitting you haven’t done what you set out to do last time, but whatever.

The video used a piece of music from the Batman soundtrack titled ‘Why Do We Fall?’, as well as the movie’s title cards. In ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, the Hans Zimmer composition soundtracks Bruce Wayne climbing out of a pit. Which is also a slightly weird image to link yourself to when you’re trying to get re-elected.

Once made aware of the video, Warner Bros said in a statement: “The use of Warner Bros’ score from ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ in the campaign video was unauthorised. We are working through the appropriate legal channels to have it removed”.

And so it did. Although the tweet remains, a message reading “this media has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner” now sits in place of the video.

Trump is used to complaints about his use of other people’s music in his campaigns, of course. Although, previously most moans have been aimed at his use of music at campaign rallies. There have been a number of formal complaints over this, but playing music at those events is often covered by the blanket licences held by the venues.

Using music in an online video without permission is a different matter, however. It can, and has, resulted in legal action. For example, when David Byrne sued former Governor of Florida Charlie Crist for using Talking Heads track ‘Road To Nowhere’ without permission in a video on YouTube back in 2010.

It remains to be seen if Warner Bros takes any further action beyond issuing the takedown.