Eminem Takes Legal Action Against Vivek Ramaswamy Over Rapping his Music at Campaign Events

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Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy delivered an impromptu rendition of Lose Yourself at a campaign event, prompting Eminem to warn him of legal action.

Rap star Eminem has asked aspiring Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy to stop using his songs.

The US rapper sent a cease and desist letter to Mr Ramaswamy's campaign team last week via his music licenser BMI.

It came after the 38-year-old, who is hoping to become the Republican party's presidential candidate in 2024, performed an impromptu rendition of Lose Yourself at the Iowa State Fair.

Mr Ramaswamy is the youngest major Republican candidate in history and is vying against Donald Trump for the Republican nomination - despite having no political experience.

Trump, the former president, is by far the favourite to be selected as the Republican to take on incumbent Democrat president Joe Biden next year - even though he is facing a range of charges in the US courts.

In the letter, which was reported first by the Daily Mail, BMI told Mr Ramaswamy's campaign that it will no longer license Eminem's music for use by Mr Ramaswamy's campaign.

"BMI has received a communication from Marshall B. Mathers, III, professionally known as Eminem, objecting to the Vivek Ramaswamy campaign's use of Eminem's musical composition," BMI said in the letter.

It revoked the campaign's licence to use Eminem's music.

Politicians and musicians have clashed over the use of music for decades.

Bruce Springsteen castigated President Reagan for planning to use Born in the USA for his 1984 election campaign. Fatboy Slim furiously denounced Labour's use of Right Here, Right Now at their 2004 conference, the year after the Iraq War. And the Rolling Stones fought a long battle to prevent Donald Trump using You Can't Always Get What You Want as his walk-off music.

Legally, however, US politicians don't always need direct permission from artists. Their campaigns can buy licensing packages from music rights organisations like BMI and ASCAP, which gives them legal access to more than 20 million songs for political rallies.

However, artists have the right to remove their music from that list. The Rolling Stones have done so, and Eminem has followed suit after objecting to Mr Ramaswamy's apparently impromptu rendition of Lose Yourself.

It seems that the rapper didn't know his music was covered by the blanket licence until then - an apparent problem with the US model, which resulted in artists like Adele, Neil Young, Phil Collins and the estates of Tom Petty and Prince objecting to Mr Trump's use of their music in 2016 and 2020 after the fact.

In the UK, the situation is clearer. PPL - the body that licences the use of recorded music - requires political events like party conferences to "obtain permission from the relevant rights holder" before using a song.

Mr Trump received dozens of letters from record stars - including the Rolling Stones, Queen, Adele and Pharrell Williams - informing him he lacked permission to use their music at campaign and presidential events.

In 2008, the Foo Fighters spoke out against Republican John McCain for using their tune My Hero during his presidential run and Jackson Browne filed suit against the campaign to force it stop using the song Running on Empty.