Dr. Dre Threatens Marjorie Taylor Greene With Legal Action After She Uses ‘Still D.R.E’ in Video
"One might expect that, as a member of Congress, you would have a passing familiarity with the laws of our country," Dre's lawyers wrote.
Lawyers for Dr. Dre sent a scathing cease-and-desist letter to Marjorie Taylor Greene on Monday (Jan. 9), threatening her with legal action after she used the rapper’s 1999 smash hit “Still D.R.E.” without permission in a social media post.
Hours after the superstar publicly slammed the Republican congresswoman over the post — he said he’d never license his song to someone so “divisive and hateful” — his lawyers formally told Taylor Greene that her post constituted copyright infringement and that she had until Wednesday to remove it.
“You are wrongfully exploiting his work through the various social media outlets to promote your divisive and hateful political agenda,” wrote attorney Howard King in a copy of the letter obtained by Billboard.
The video in question — posted Monday morning on Greene’s social media accounts — features the Republican representative strutting through the halls of Congress in slow motion, grinning at the camera as Dre’s infamous piano riff from “Still D.R.E.” repeats on a loop. By Monday evening, the video had already been disabled by Twitter.
If actually unlicensed, the use of a copyrighted song in a political advertisement would almost certainly constitute infringement. In Monday’s letter, Dre’s lawyers told Greene as much — and then some.
“The United States Copyright Act says a lot of things, one of the things it says is that you can’t use someone else’s song for your political campaign promotions unless you get permission from the owner of the copyright in the song, a step you failed to take,” King wrote.
Top artists have long chafed at the use of their music by politicians, particularly conservatives. Foo Fighters and John Mellencamp blasted John McCain for using their music during the 2008 presidential election, and Neil Young, Guns N’ Roses, Pharrell, Rihanna and the estate of Tom Petty have all spoken out about their music being used at campaign events for Donald Trump.
Owing to the complex thicket of blanket licenses that govern the public performance of music, it’s actually more complicated than you might expect for artists to prevent their music from being played at political rallies. But the use of music in a video advertisement is far more straightforward; if a politician doesn’t secure a license, a musician has a great case for copyright infringement.
In Monday’s letter, Dre’s lawyers said that a federal lawmaker ought to know that.
“One might expect that, as a member of Congress, you would have a passing familiarity with the laws of our country,” King wrote. “It’s possible, though, that laws governing intellectual property are a little too arcane and insufficiently populist for you to really have spent much time on. We’re writing because we think an actual lawmaker should be making laws not breaking laws, especially those embodied in the constitution by the founding fathers.”
Greene’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Billboard, but she reportedly told TMZ: “While I appreciate the creative chord progression, I would never play your words of violence against women and police officers, and your glorification of the thug life and drugs.”