Lee Greenwood took the stage Sunday night, proudly performing at President Donald Trump's rally in Chattanooga. Some artists aren't as happy to have their songs used.

After "Don't Stop the Music" was played at the same rally, artist Rihanna posted a message to Twitter claiming her songs wouldn't be at the president's events much longer.

Pharrell's attorney also sent a cease and desist letter to stop the president's rallies from playing his music.

Do the attempts work?

Back in 2016, The Rolling Stones asked the president's then-campaign not to use their songs. Sunday night, the Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was still played at the end of the rally.  

Entertainment lawyer Norman Gillis said the rally venues have licenses to play the songs.

"When you are in a public venue, BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, those are public performance societies," Gillis said. "They collect royalties from the radio, from anyone who plays music. They send those directly to the publishers and the songwriters. If you've got that license, anybody from a small mom and pop club to a big venue, you've got those licenses and play whatever you want. They figure out from some magic formula who's getting played or not, and they send those royalties out."

That's the issue Axl Rose has been criticizing, fighting against his songs being used for political purposes.

A recent tweet by Rose said in part, "Unfortunately, the Trump campaign is using loopholes in the various venues' blanket performance licenses which were not intended for such craven political purposes without the songwriters' consent."

Gillis said it'd be tough for an artist to do anything about a random song play or even a few plays. He said they might be able to take action if the song, in court, could be considered an implied endorsement.

"If it gets repeated to the extent it gets associated with the candidate or the campaign, that may be an unlicensed use," said Gillis. "The easiest thing to do is hire a bunch of lawyers and file an injunction and try to get a preliminary restraining order to stop it."

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Forrest Sanders is an award-winning reporter, videographer and editor at News4.

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