Wixen Music Publishing, the music publisher for Tom Petty, hit Kari Lake with a Cease and Desist letter on Friday over her use of Petty’s hit song “I Won’t Back Down.” The letter, obtained by Rolling Stone, comes after the Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate who lost to Katie Hobbs this week faced backlash from Petty’s estate for using the track.
As Lake’s use of Petty’s song suggests, she is currently refusing to concede the governor’s race, instead insinuating that voter fraud cost her the election. Earlier this week, she posted a video featuring the song on her social media accounts, but by Friday, it appeared to be removed on all platforms. Tom Petty’s estate condemned Lake’s use of the song on Thursday, noting it was exploring legal actions to get her to stop.
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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. pic.twitter.com/DoT71whO43
— Tom Petty (@tompetty) November 18, 2022
By Friday evening, Wixen sent the letter to Lake’s campaign, noting that the use of the song “conveys the false implication that the claimants endorse” her, a notion Wixen called “revolting.”
“Tom sang ‘I Won’t Back Down’ at the America: A Tribute to Heroes benefit for concert for the victims of 9/11 attack. Not backing down to hatred violence and an attack on our democracy,” Wixen wrote. “The opposite of what you stand for. 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.”
In a statement, Petty’s ex-wife Jane Benyo Petty further slammed Lake’s use of the song for denying the election results.
“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,” Petty said. “Her alliance with Trump makes it even worse. She is getting a cease-and-desist letter. I would like to thank all the fans on Twitter for telling me about the video.”
Lake’s campaign didn’t immediately reply to request for comment.
Politicians’ use of music has been a notable topic for the past several years, most apparently as artists condemned Donald Trump’s use of their songs in his campaigns and at his rallies. Artists have been vocal in their opposition, though they often don’t have many legal options assuming proper licenses were paid.
Still, Wixen said any further use of the track could result in up to $150,000 per infringement. Along with demanding Lake stop using the song immediately, Wixen called for Lake’s campaign to confirm it has received the letter by next week, and to provide the publisher with any further uses of the song from her campaign.
“Ms. Lake, Tom also wrote ‘Even Losers Get Lucky Sometimes,'” Wixen said in the letter. “This is not one of those times. Proceed at your peril.”
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