Donald Trump liable for in excess of US$100 M for unlawful use of Eddy Grant’s ‘Electric Avenue’

Eddy Grant

Eddy Grant, Guyanese icon and musical superstar has taken prompt action against President Donald Trump’s political campaign team, for the unlawful use of his 1983 US chart topping hit Electric Avenue in a video criticizing Joe Biden, the Democratic Presidential candidate.The animated video which was posted to the personal Twitter account of Dan Scavino, White House Deputy Chief of Staff, plays unflattering audio quotes from Biden set to the tune of ‘Electric Avenue,’ states Celebrity Access, the world’s leading entertainment resource.

Said Grant, “in my particular case, they have sought to encapsulate my intellectual property into derogatory political rhetoric, further encapsulated in a video production that can only be construed at best as being wicked, thereby causing me considerable emotional distress.”
On August 13, 2020, Grant’s legal counsel, Wallace E.J. Collins, issued a cease and desist letter to the Donald Trump campaign team stating that Grant is the singer/songwriter and sole and exclusive rightful copyright owner of the musical composition and sound recording of ‘Electric Avenue’. In his letter, Collins said: “you have made an unauthorized use of our copyrighted work in connection with the political campaign of Donald Trump.” He continued, “as a result of your wrongful unauthorized Infringing Use in connection with your controversial political campaign, substantial damage and irreparable harm has occurred and will continue to occur to my client and his reputation as an artist when affiliated in any way with your campaign.”

As it stands, the Guyanese superstar is just one in a line of musicians demanding that Trump and/or his campaign, cease and desist from using his words and music for political purposes. Grant stated that it is his understanding that all of the Trump campaign team’s transgressions with regard to the use of other people’s music, have taken place during political meetings.

“I can understand the flagrant abuse of my rights being attributed to the worst Third World nation in the world, wherever that can be found; one that does not preach democracy on every available occasion, but I fail to understand however, that such an organisation dedicated to the promotion of the President of the United States, could so seriously abuse my rights as an artist, composer, arranger, producer and ultimately, the owner of these abused rights”, Grant said.

In the letter to Trump’s team, Collins a leading copyright authority also pointed out “as a result of your wrongful unauthorized Infringing Use in connection with your controversial political campaign, substantial damage and irreparable harm has occurred and will continue to occur to my client and his reputation as an artist when affiliated in any way with your campaign.”

Collins said that Eddy Grant has always had a reputation for standing for truth and justice for all and that this will be seriously undermined by any affiliation with the name Trump in this political context. “Such damage will extend to the value of my client’s musical catalogue,” he added. According to Collins, the Trump campaign team neither asked for nor received permission to use the work (Electric Avenue) under U.S.C. Section 101 et seq., and that they should be held liable for statutory damages as set forth in Section 504 (c)(2) therein.

Collins is demanding that the Trump campaign immediately cease and desist from any further use “or exploitation” of the song. “If you know my client’s reputation, then you know that this Infringing Use in connection with the name Trump in a political context is a serious transgression,” Collins told the Trump campaign team.

Collins also demanded that the Trump team “hold any monies arising out of or relating to your campaign and attributable to the infringing use of ‘Electric Avenue’, until “the matter is fully and fairly resolved.”
“We prefer to resolve this dispute expeditiously, in order to avoid time-consuming and costly litigation and the negative publicity that can surround the unauthorized use of such an iconic musical composition especially where the use indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of the very meaning of the underlying work (Electric Avenue),” said Collins.

As for Grant, he interjected a few choice words of his own: “I call upon such arbiter, as is responsible for this sordid abuse, to come forward like a man and let’s sort this thing out, in the way that America demands when such issues are to be sorted, especially when they are wrong. Mr Trump, I am calling on you. You are the final arbiter and I await the word from you.”