At her campaign rally in Iowa on Monday, Michele Bachmann walked onstage to Tom Petty’s “American Girl.” The singer-songwriter, however, wasn’t too pleased—his management team reportedly sent Bachmann’s campaign a cease and desist letter.
However, the Minnesota congresswoman reportedly played the song again yesterday—although only for 29 seconds—at the end of her speech at a stop in South Carolina.
Though Petty’s representatives have declined to comment on the matter, many musicians have asked political candidates to refrain from using their songs, as it might seem like they are endorsing the politician.
This happened to Petty back in 2000, when George W. Bush played “I Won’t Back Down” at rallies. Randall Wixen, president of Wixen Music Publishing president, wrote to Bush’s campaign, “Any use made by you or your campaign creates, either intentionally or unintentionally, the impression that you and your campaign have been endorsed by Tom Petty, which is not true.”
Legal rights to play music during political campaigns have not been tested in court. Some experts believe that buying a license from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers gives politicians the right to play that song. However, others argue that using a song during campaigning implies that the musician has endorsed that politician, and therefore they must gain approval from that musician.
Congresswoman Bachmann announced her presidential campaign for Republican candidate on Monday.