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US Judge declines to dismiss Guyanese Eddy Grant’s lawsuit against Trump for using ‘Electric Avenue’

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 September 2021, 9:37 by Denis Chabrol

Reproduced from The Hill

A New York federal judge declined to dismiss musician Eddy Grant’s lawsuit against former President Trump for using his song “Electric Avenue” in a video posted to Twitter last year, the Hill reported on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge John Koeltl issued an order on Tuesday denying Trump’s motion to dismiss the suit, finding that the defendant failed to argue that the song was fair use.

In the ruling, Koeltl said the song was featured in over two-thirds of the video and plays “no discernible role in communicating the video’s overarching political commentary.”

“The video’s overarching political purpose does not automatically make this use transformative, and the other fair use factors also favor the plaintiffs at this stage,” the suit claims.

Grant filed the suit against Trump and his reelection campaign in September 2020 alleging copyright infringement after Trump posted a video to his Twitter account on Aug. 12 attacking then-presidential nominee Joe Biden.

The animated video included “Electric Avenue” in the background. The video also featured a train with the Trump campaign’s logo followed by a railroad handcar that Biden manually operates.

Twitter removed the video following a copyright claim from Grant.

Trump’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the suit in November, writing that the purpose of the video was not to disseminate the song, but for satire.

“A reasonable observer would perceive that the Animation uses the Song for a comedic, political purpose — a different and transformed purpose from that of the original Song,” the motion reads. “Moreover, in light of the obvious comedic or satirical nature of the Animation, a reasonable observer would regard the Animation as criticism or commentary.”

The Hill has reached out to a spokesperson for Trump for comment on the ruling.

Grant was one of several artists to push back on Trump for his use of music. Others include Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, and Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco.