Tom Petty’s estate files cease and desist letter over Republican’s use of ‘I Won’t Back Down’

Tom Petty

Tom Petty’s estate has filed a cease and desist letter over Kari Lake’s use of ‘I Won’t Back Down’ following her defeat in the US midterm elections.

Lake, a Donald Trump-endorsed Republican, lost the race to become Arizona Governor in the US midterm elections earlier this month, but has spent the past week talking about the “broken election system” and sharing reports that many votes weren’t counted. Trump has echoed those claims, saying that “there were a lot of broken voting machines” in Arizona.

On Wednesday (November 16) Kari Lake shared a series of campaign highlights set to Tom Petty’s iconic 1989 track ‘I Won’t Back Down’, seemingly suggesting she was going to contest the election results.

However, the following day the late artist’s estate released a statement that said: “The Tom Petty estate and our partners were shocked to find out that Tom’s song ‘I Won’t Back Down’ was stolen and used without permission or a license to promote Kari Lake’s failed campaign.”

“This is illegal. We are exploring all of our legal options to stop this unauthorised use and to prohibit future misappropriations of Tom’s beloved anthem. Thank you to all of the fans who brought this to our attention and who help us protect his legacy every day.”

In another statement (via Rolling Stone) Tom Petty’s ex-wife Jane said “Tom Petty would not ever let Kari Lake, an election denier, use his great anthem ‘I Won’t’ Back Down’ to not concede a legitimate election.”

By Friday (November 18) Petty’s publisher Wixen Music Publishing had sent a cease and desist notice to Lake, saying that any further uses of the track could result in fines of up to $150,000 (£126,000).

“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 tens of millions of fans who cherish his legacy,” continued the letter.

Back in 2020, Tom Petty’s estate filed a similar cease and desist letter over Donald Trump’s use of ‘I Won’t Back Down’. Artists like Linkin Park and Phil Collins have also taken legal action to stop their music being used by the Republicans, while over in the UK, M People’s Mike Pickering took to Twitter to complain about then-Prime Minister leader Liz Truss using their 1993 hit ‘Moving On Up’ during a speech at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

“So apparently we can’t stop Truss walking out to our song, very weird,” he said. “I don’t want my song being a soundtrack to lies.”

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