- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 8, 2020

The needle has moved in Neil Young’s lawsuit against President Trump’s reelection campaign after a federal court judge was assigned Friday to consider his claims of damages done.

A civil summons was also issued in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, moving along the musician’s copyright infringement case against the Trump campaign.

Mr. Young, the acclaimed Canadian-American artist behind songs such as “Heart of Gold” and “The Needle and the Damage Done,” initiated the lawsuit in Manhattan this week in light of hearing two of his other tunes played at a recent Trump campaign rally without his permission.

“Plaintiff in good conscience cannot allow his music to be used as a ‘theme song’ for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate,” his lawyers wrote in their complaint filed Thursday.

Mr. Young’s lawsuit was officially filed Thursday along with U.S. Copyright Office records for “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Devil’s Sidewalk,” which were both played at a June 20 rally in Tulsa.

“The Campaign does not now have, and did not at the time of the Tulsa rally, have a license or Plaintiff’s permission to play the two Songs at any public political event,” his lawyers wrote.

Mr. Young is seeking a court order barring the Trump campaign from playing any of his songs, as well as damages of between $750 and $150,000 for each infringement.

His case was assigned Friday to Senior U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, and subsequently designated to Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang. An electronic summons issued the same day give the Trump campaign three weeks to respond to the lawsuit or risk having the court rule for Mr. Young.

The Trump campaign has not responded to requests for comment.

Mr. Young, 74, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in January. He previously endorsed former presidential hopeful Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent, prior to him ending his campaign for the Democratic nomination. He released a song last month showing his support for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, the party’s presumptive nominee in November’s race.

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