Twitter disables Trump retweet over Linkin Park copyright claim

Fans share Chester Bennington post denouncing president and telling followers to ‘take back our voices’

Andy Gregory
Sunday 19 July 2020 12:27 BST
A video promoted by Donald Trump has been deleted from social media after a copyright complaint
A video promoted by Donald Trump has been deleted from social media after a copyright complaint (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Twitter has chosen to remove a campaign-style video shared by Donald Trump after Linkin Park lodged a copyright complaint over its use of their song.

The band confirmed they had ordered a cease and desist notice over the video, which used a cover version of their song “In the End” to promote a populist narrative placing the president against the Washington elite, interspersed with footage of Joe Biden and military jets.

It contained a segment of Mr Trump’s inaugural address, in which he stated: “What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost… The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. That all changes - starting right here, and right now.”

The social media site left a notice on the post, published by White House social media director Dan Scavino, saying: “This media has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner.”

According to a notice posted on the Lumen Database, which collects requests for removal of online materials, Twitter received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice from Machine Shop Entertainment – a company owned by the band.

“We respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorised representatives,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While the song had been performed by the artists Fleurie and Jung Youth, Linkin Park tweeted: “Linkin Park did not and does not endorse Trump, nor authorise his organisation to use any of our music. A cease and desist has been issued.”

Jung Youth also tweeted: “Earlier today I found out that Trump illegally used a cover song that I am part of in a propaganda video which he tweeted ... anyone who knows me knows I stand firmly against bigotry and racism. Much love to everyone in the twitter community who helped get the video taken down fr!!”

Fans also retweeted a 2017 message by the band’s late singer, Chester Bennington, who had written: “Trump is a greater threat to the USA than terrorism!! We have to take back our voices and stand for what we believe in.”

It is the president’s latest run-in with musical artists, many of whom – notably the Rolling Stones – have publicly rejected his use of their music and turned down invitations to perform in connection with his presidency.

The incident also marks another occasion where social media companies have taken down content used by the president, after years of complaints over his false claims and sometimes racist language.

Twitter began challenging Trump’s tweets in May and has repeatedly clashed with him since. The social media company has since disabled or commented on his tweets several times because of what it said were copyright complaints or violations of a policy against threatening violence.

Twitter removed an image the president tweeted on 30 June, which included a picture of Mr Trump, because of a complaint from the New York Times, whose photographer had taken the image.

The company also put a tweet from the president behind a warning label in late May, saying he had violated its rules against “glorifying violence” when he advocated that Minneapolis authorities be tough in responding to protests over the death of George Floyd.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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