Les Misérables creators object to Trump’s use of song
Republican presidential candidate came out on stage to tune from musical at Miami rally
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump waves as he steps out of his plane for a rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, US. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Mackintosh, a leading British theatre impresario, will make his objections in a joint statement with Alain Boublil, the musical’s librettist, among others who own the copyright.
A copy of the statement released to The Guardian said: “The authors of Les Misérables were not asked for permission and did not authorise or endorse usage of Do You Hear the People Sing? at last [week’s] Trump rally in Miami, and have never done so for any of the songs from the musical for this or any other political event.”
Les Misérables has broken box office records worldwide and has been seen by more than 70 million people in 44 countries.
Its story is described as one of “broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption”.
In Miami, the Republican presidential nominee took the stage as Do You Hear the People Sing? blasted through the loudspeakers.
The statement said: “As the musical’s popularity and universal message have been part of international popular culture for more than 30 years now, countless political and social movements around the world, including the first Bill Clinton and Obama campaigns, have independently embraced songs from the musical as a rallying cry for their own cause.”
Mr Trump has upset musicians before. In May, he faced demands by the Rolling Stones to stop playing their music at his campaign events.
Earlier, he faced criticism from Neil Young for using the musician’s “Rockin’ in the Free World”.
Whether Mackintosh takes legal action remains to be seen.
Intellectual property lawyer Mark Stephens said that politicians were supposed to clear the use of songs.
Sometimes permission was obtained without disclosing it was for a political purpose and there could be a question about whether Trump’s campaign had said it would be used at a rally, he added.
“That’s where political parties very often come unstuck,” Mr Stephens said.
Asked whether Mackintosh could potentially have a legal case against Mr Trump, he said: “Assuming that there wasn’t a fully disclosed, informed consent given, then he can sue for infringement of copyright.”
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump is among numerous politicians who have upset musicians.
Bruce Springsteen objected to US president Ronald Reagan’s attempt to use Born in the USA as a backdrop for his re-election in 1984, and Mick Fleetwood has said that Bill Clinton’s campaign never sought permission for using Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop as his 1992 campaign anthem.
But sometimes there is harmony between musicians and politicians.
The Northern Irish group D:Ream approved Tony Blair’s use of Things Can Only Get Better during the British Labour party’s 1997 campaign.