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Leonard Cohen lawyer considers legal action after RNC uses song after Trump acceptance speech

A lawyer for the estate of late singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen said on Friday that legal action is being considered after the Republican National Convention used a cover of Cohen’s “Hallelujah” during a fireworks show following President Trump’s acceptance speech.

Cohen’s estate said in a statement obtained by Reuters that playing a cover of “Hallelujah” by Tori Kelly was an attempt to politicize the song.

“We are surprised and dismayed that the RNC [Republican National Committee] would proceed knowing that the Cohen Estate had specifically declined the RNC’s use request, and their rather brazen attempt to politicize and exploit in such an egregious manner ‘Hallelujah,’ one of the most important songs in the Cohen song catalogue,” said Michelle Rice, legal representative of the Cohen Estate.

“Had the RNC requested another song, ‘You Want It Darker,’ for which Leonard won a posthumous Grammy in 2017, we might have considered approval of that song,” Rice added.

The song “You Want It Darker” strikes an ominous and somber tone and includes the lyrics “If you are the dealer, let me out of the game / If you are the healer, I’m broken and lame / If thine is the glory, mine must be the shame / You want it darker.”

Cohen died in 2016 at age 82, with “Hallelujah,” first released in 1984, being his most-performed song.

The Trump campaign has repeatedly faced legal threats for sharing music without artists’ consent. 

Several other musicians, including Panic! At The Disco frontman Brendon UrieAdele, the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Rihanna and Elton Johnhave either disavowed Trump’s use of their music at campaign events or threatened legal action over it.

Last year, a campaign video tweeted by the president that featured Queen’s “We Will Rock You” was taken down after the band’s publisher made a complaint.

Tags Donald Trump Hallelujah legal action Leonard Cohen Music Republican convention RNC sue Trump

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