On Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted a pro-Trump video using the score from The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Warner Bros. made a copyright claim against the video, and Twitter pulled it from the president’s tweet. Trump’s campaign did not create the video, but the president’s campaign manager did attack AT&T, the company that owns Warner Bros. and CNN, for becoming a “weapon of the left.”
“The use of Warner Bros.’ score from The Dark Knight Rises in the campaign video was unauthorized,” the entertainment company told CNN. “We are working through the appropriate legal channels to have it removed.”
Twitter took down the video “in response to a report by the copyright owner.”
A campaign aide told CNN the Trump 2020 campaign did not make the video. “The video was made by a supporter,” the aide explained. “We like to share content from diehard supporters, and this is just another example of how hard Trump supporters fight for the President.”
AT&T owns WarnerMedia, the parent company of both Warner Bros. and CNN.
Responding to Twitter’s removal of the video, Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale blamed AT&T. “Sad to see an [AT&T] owned company pull such a great video made by an every day American in good fun,” Parscale tweeted. “AT&T now owns [CNN] and is positioning themselves as a weapon of the left.”
Sad to see an @ATT owned company pull such a great video made by an every day American in good fun. AT&T now owns @CNN and is positioning themselves as a weapon of the left. pic.twitter.com/jP9kM0Rx7p
— Brad Parscale – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@parscale) April 10, 2019
Parscale’s complaint notwithstanding, Warner Bros. did have a good copyright claim regarding the video. While companies should not lord their power over citizens, the unauthorized use of movie soundtrack music in a political ad, whether put together by the campaign or not, is a serious violation. Whether or not AT&T is becoming a weapon of the left, the company was in its rights to complain.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.