Can’t always get what you want: why artists struggle to stop politicians using their songs

Pharrell has sent Trump a cease-and-desist letter, requesting he stop playing Happy at rallies. Will it make a difference?

Incensed by Donald Trump’s use of his 2013 song Happy at a rally in Indiana on Saturday, Pharrell Williams has threatened legal action against the president. In a cease-and-desist letter sent by Williams’ lawyer, the demand specifically took umbrage at the use of the song for political purposes just hours after a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

“On the day of the mass murder of 11 human beings at the hands of a deranged ‘nationalist’, you played his song Happy to a crowd at a political event in Indiana,” the letter said. “There was nothing ‘happy’ about the tragedy inflicted upon our country on Saturday and no permission was granted for your use of this song for this purpose.”

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