- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 6, 2017

“I Won’t Back Down” by Johnny Cash won’t be played anytime soon on Stormfront Radio, former Ku Klux Klan leader Don Black’s white supremacist internet program.

The late Man in Black’s record labels sent a cease-and-desist letter Tuesday threatening legal action over Stormfront’s use of the tune as its opening theme song, and evidence of their former association has since been all but erased.

Stormfront used a different song at the start of Wednesday’s episode, and the company that broadcasts the program, Rense Radio, has deleted hundreds of hours of audio from its online archives in lieu of facing litigation.

On YouTube, meanwhile, dozens of episodes of Stormfront Radio featuring the tune abruptly disappeared Wednesday from public view.

“Maybe we can’t quote anybody anymore – forever. Who knows?” Mr. Black asked during Wednesday’s broadcast. “It’s kind of amazing, isn’t it? There’s just nothing that our enemies will not go to … to try to shut us down.”

UMG and American, the record labels that own the song’s copyright, said Mr. Black and Rense have “unlawfully exploited” the tune hundreds of times by playing it at the start of Stormfront Radio without permission and then publishing those episodes available online, according to a copy of the letter seen by The Washington Times.

“Accordingly, UMG and American demand that you immediately cease and desist from the unauthorized exploitation … and remove it from all copies of the program on your website and any third-party sites which it has been posted,” litigation counsel Nicholas Tardif wrote on behalf of the labels Tuesday. “Additionally, any amicable resolution of this matter must include the payment of an appropriate settlement amount to compensate UMG and American for past infringements.”

Each and every episode of Stormfront Radio dating back several years was subsequently removed from the Rense Radio website within hours of receiving the cease-and-desist letter Tuesday, owner Jeff Rense told The Washington Times, albeit not without raising free speech concerns.

“The war against the First Amendment of the Constitution is deadly serious,” said Mr. Rense.

Indeed, Mr. Black’s supporters have suggested the latest legal threat is more than just a matter of copyright on the heels of Stormfront suffering a similar setback weeks earlier. The former Klan leader’s longtime website, Stormfront.org, was recently punted off its domain of more than two decades by a legal group alarmed by its alleged ties to violent far-right extremists shortly after a similar website, The Daily Stormer, was banned by the likes of Google, GoDaddy, Facebook and Cloudflare for mocking a demonstrator who was killed while protesting a white nationalist rally last month in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“We have to follow whatever the laws are and whatever they are we cannot give them an excuse to shut us down,” David Duke, another former Klan leader, said during Wednesdays’s episode of Stormfront Radio. “We’ll do whatever we need to do to stay on the air as far as the legal issue, but what we have to understand: the enemy wants to shut us down whatever the issue.”

“This is the pre-Bolshevik tyranny,” Mr. Duke continued. “And the next thing is they’ll be rounding people up.”

Mr. Black has not responded to multiple requests regarding Stormfront, and UMG’s public relations division declined to comment Wednesday.

Mr. Black has not responded to multiple requests regarding Stormfront, and UMG’s public relations division declined to comment Wednesday.

Stormfront Radio isn’t the first racist target to come under fire from those connected to Cash. The singer’s children published an open letter last month after becoming aware of a video recorded during the Charlottesville rally of a “self-proclaimed neo-Nazi” wearing a Johnny Cash T-shirt.

“The white supremacists and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville are poison in our society, and an insult to every American hero who wore a uniform to fight the Nazis in WWII. Several men in the extended Cash family were among those who served with honor,” his children said.

The deadly Charlottesville rally was advertised in advance on both the Stormfront and Daily Stormer, extremist neo-Nazi websites according to hate group watchdogs.

Cash’s version of “I Won’t Back Down” appeared on his 2000 album “American III: Solitary Man.” He died three years later from complications from diabetes.

The legendary singer’s haunting but defiant Tom Petty cover served as the theme song to Stormfront Radio since at least Feb. 2014, according to archived episodes, and is frequently played on other far-right radio programs, including notably Alex Jones’ “Infowars.”

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