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Trump to face Eddy Grant’s copyright lawsuit


Trump to face Eddy Grant’s copyright lawsuit
Reggae star Eddy Grant performing as part of his "Reparation" tour in Durban, February 22, 2009. (Reuters)

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Washington – Former Republican President Donald Trump must face copyright claims brought by “Electric Avenue” musician Eddy Grant over Trump’s alleged misuse of his song on a video he posted to Twitter, a Manhattan federal court ruled on Tuesday.

US District Judge John Koeltl said Trump and his campaign hadn’t proven at an early stage of the case that a 55-second anti-Biden video he tweeted last year during the run-up to the 2020 presidential election made fair use of Grant’s song under federal copyright law.

Koeltl also said the fair-use factors all favour Grant at this stage.

Grant wrote, recorded, and produced the 1983 hit song “Electric Avenue”, which reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and went platinum in the US.

The video Trump posted didn’t “parody the music or transform it in any way”, and its “overarching political purpose” didn’t automatically make it transformative or non-commercial, Koeltl said.

Grant’s attorney Brian Caplan of Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt said in an email that he was “very pleased” with the ruling.

“There is no justification under existing copyright law for a politician to simply appropriate a popular recording and synchronise it in an unrelated video for ostensibly a commercial purpose, cloaked as a political advertisement,” Caplan said.

Trump’s attorneys Darren Saunders of Peroff Saunders and Ken Caruso of Mukasey Frenchman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reuters)