Seeing as how Donald Trump has made a career out of being a fucking crook, it's not all that surprising that he used Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' without permission from the singer's estate.
But, like all things in life, what goes around, comes around. So it goes that Sony / ATV Publishing and Leonard Cohen's estate are exploring options and potentially suing the Republican Party for the unauthorised use of his song at the recent National Convention. The moment in question saw a record cover 'Hallelujah' by Tori Kelly (yeah, no idea either) as Trump's name was spelled out in fireworks.
In a statement by Sony / ATV, they confirmed that "on the eve of the finale of the convention, representatives from the Republican National Committee contacted us regarding obtaining permission for a live performance of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’. We declined their request."
Meanwhile, the statement from the Cohen estate confirmed that they are now exploring "legal options", and added that they were "surprised and dismayed that the RNC would proceed knowing that the Cohen Estate had specifically declined the RNC’s use request, and their rather brazen attempt to politicize and exploit in such an egregious manner ‘Hallelujah’, one of the most important songs in the Cohen song catalogue." The statement also added that had the RNC asked for Cohen's 'You Want It Darker', they would have considered the request.
The Republicans have a long history of musicians specifically denying their request to use their music. Just about every artist has specifically denied their music to Trump and the Republicans, from Linkin Park to the Village People. Again, yes, really.
Indeed, Neil Young's 'Rockin' In The Free World' has been a bone of contention for the singer, as it's regularly played at Donald Trump's rallies and campaign events, even though Young himself sued Donald Trump and the Republican Party for copyright infringement. Young's lawsuit specifically cited that he did not want his song used for "a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate."