Prince's half-brother, Omarr Baker, is the executor of the singer's estate, according to a report by TMZ. On behalf of the music icon, Baker is going after President Trump, who has been playing "Purple Rain" at campaign rallies without permission, and without compensating the rights-holders.
President Trump has already been campaigning hard for re-election in 2020. He announced his candidacy on Jan. 20, 2017 — the same day he was officially sworn in as President of the United States in the first place. Many analysts have note how unusual it is for an incumbent to start campaigning so early, with some speculating the president just personally likes holding rallies.
Videos from President Trump's rallies often show him playing "Purple Rain," one of Prince's biggest hits in his long career. Earlier this month, he held a rally in Southaven, Mississippi, where a live-stream shows the Prince song playing just before the president walked out to the podium.
Other artists have also taken legal action against the president for playing their songs at his rallies. He received a cease and desist letter from the lawyers of Steven Tyler when he repeatedly played "Livin' on the Edge" at rallies. During the 2016 campaign, he also got one from the representatives of The Rolling Stones, after he was heard using "Start Me Up" to fire up the crowd.
In fairness, President Trump is not the only politician to use popular songs without permission at a political event. At the height of the 2016 election, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver ran a story about the epidemic of copyright infringements at campaign rallies, on both sides of the fence. At the time, then-candidate Trump had just used Queen's "We Are The Champions" at the Republican National Convention, which outraged the surviving members of the band.
Still, the president's ongoing campaign remains an outlier in an already strange industry. He has held intermittent rallies non-stop throughout his presidency. Just this week, he caught flack from political commentators for holding the events in spite of the Category 4 Hurricane Michael, which just ravaged the Southeast.
The Trump administration did not respond to TMZ's request for comment on the controversy with Prince's legal team.