November 27, 2022

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Tom Petty Estate issues Kari Lake cease and desist over ‘I won’t back down’

3 min read

The Tom Petty Estate has issued a cease and desist order to Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake of Arizona, who recently lost the race to Democrat Katie Hobbs. In a letter obtained by Pitchfork, Petty’s publisher, Wixen Music Publishing, condemned Lake’s use of the song “I Won’t Back Down” in a video the politician posted to her social media accounts earlier this week, like Rolling Stone and Billboard (it now appears that Lake’s post has been turned off). Lake currently refuses to give up the governor’s race despite Hobbs’ victory.

“Wixen and the Claimants have come to the attention that you and Kari Lake for Arizona are currently broadcasting, displaying, distributing and otherwise exploiting the Composition in sync with a promotional video created in connection with your application to contest the results of the 2022 Election Governor of Arizona (‘Unauthorized Video’) without the consent of Wixen and the plaintiffs,” the cease and desist letter reads. It goes on:

In addition, the use of the composition in connection with your candidacy conveys the false implication that the Claimants support or are otherwise associated with you and/or your candidacy. This implied endorsement is repugnant to the Claimants, giving rise to claims under the Lanham Act and the common law and statutes of various state jurisdictions that recognize postmortem publicity rights. The combination of copyright and publicity rights violations may have damaged both the value of the composition and the legacy of Tom Petty and the rights of his successors under the Lanham Act and other applicable laws if members of the public mistakenly believe Tom Petty had any connection with to you.

To be clear, Ms. Lake, Tom Petty was angry at any kind of injustice. Without question, he would have been outraged by your failed gubernatorial campaign, which was riddled with distortion, lies, slander, the promotion of hatred and attempts to undermine our democracy. Using his music to promote himself and his despicable cause is repugnant and contrary to everything Tom and his music stand for and mean to millions of people.

Tom sang “I Won’t Back Down” at the America: A Tribute to Heroes benefit concert for the victims of 9/11. Do not give in to hate, violence and an attack on our democracy. The opposite of what you stand for. Using this song to promote your warped values ​​is not only illegal as outlined above, but an insult to Tom’s memory, his lyrics and music, and the millions of fans who cherish his legacy.

Wixen added that any further use of the song could face up to $150,000 per violation. The publisher also asked Lake’s campaign to confirm receipt of the cease and desist letter by next week and to provide Wixen with any further uses of the song from their campaign.

Before sending out a formal cease and desist letter, Petty’s estate released a statement on Twitter Deciphering Lake’s use of the song. Back in 2020, Petty’s estate issued a cease and desist letter against Donald Trump’s presidential re-election campaign for using “I Won’t Back Down” at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In memory of Tom Petty, an American rock institution

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