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State of the Union video tweeted by Trump is 'removed' after copyright complaint from R.E.M. publisher

Key Points
  • The publisher of rock band R.E.M.'s music asked Twitter to remove a satirical video clip containing one of the band's songs that President Donald Trump's account tweeted Friday, CNBC has learned.
  • The clip, which was first posted by another Twitter user and runs more than two minutes in length, plays audio from R.E.M.'s early-'90s hit single "Everybody Hurts" over excerpts from Trump's Feb. 5 State of the Union address.
  • R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills took notice, saying that the president had retweeted the video from Twitter account CarpeDonktum, who Mills says created it. "Measures have been taken to stop it," Mills said.
Michael Stipe and Mike Mills attend the 25th anniversary of REM's album 'Out Of Time' album at Borderline on November 18, 2016 in London, England.
Dave J Hogan | Getty Images

A satirical video using music from rock band R.E.M., which was shared by the Twitter account of President Donald Trump, has been removed from the social media site after a complaint by the publisher of the band's songs.

A lawyer for Universal Music Publishing Group had reached out to Twitter on Friday asking that the video -- which was first posted by another user -- be taken down from the platform, a source familiar with the situation told CNBC.

The clip, which runs more than two minutes in length, plays audio from R.E.M.'s early-'90s hit single "Everybody Hurts" over excerpts from Trump's Feb. 5 State of the Union address.

But, as of the early hours Saturday ET, Twitter users could not play the video posted by Trump, and many saw a message that read, "This video has been removed in response to a report from the copyright holder."

The creator of the video that the president tweeted Friday, self-proclaimed Trump supporter @CarpeDonktum, accused Twitter of censorship after the clip became unplayable on the platform.

The clip, clearly meant to mock a selection of lawmakers in Congress, cuts lines from Trump's speech, together with reaction shots of stern-looking politicians whom Trump has criticized in the past. They include Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah.

On Saturday afternoon, Trump tweeted a similar video — but this version's backing track replaced R.E.M. with Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A."

The White House did not respond to CNBC's questions about the president's Friday tweet. A spokesman for Twitter declined to comment.

Trump has drawn criticism for using copyrighted content before: The Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was often used at the end of Trump campaign rallies, and has been used at Trump events since he became president. The band urged Trump to stop using the song, to no avail.

In November, Trump tweeted an image of himself featuring the text overlay "Sanctions are coming," which HBO took as a clear reference to its "Game of Thrones" series. HBO said at the time that they "would prefer our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes," but the president's tweet was not taken down.

R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills took notice of the use of his band's song in the video that Trump tweeted Friday.

"Measures have been taken to stop it," Mills tweeted, adding that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey needs "to get on this."

Mills said that the president had retweeted the video from Twitter account @CarpeDonktum, who is credited in the video. That account defended using potentially copyrighted material in its own content.

Mills, for his part, celebrated the removal of the video with a tweet calling back to a regular campaign promise from Trump.

R.E.M. reached a publishing agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group in March 2016.