An Australian politician was ordered to pay Universal Music more than $ 1 million on Friday for using the Twisted Sister song “We’re Not Going To Take It” in his party advertisement.
The politician, Clive Palmer, who is a billionaire mining mogul, argued in court that the lyrics to the song used in the 2019 election ad for his United Australia Party, complete with guitars and the phrase “Australia does not going to take care of it ”. were his own original work.
But the group strongly objected after fans asked them about the ads on Twitter, and Universal Music, which owns the rights to “We Won’t Take It,” launched copyright infringement proceedings against the group. Mr. Palmer before the Australian Federal Court.
In a ruling on Friday, Judge Anna Katzmann dismissed Palmer’s claims about the song, calling parts of his story “ridiculous” and “fancy.”
Mr. Palmer testified at the October trial last year that he was inspired by the 1976 film “Network,” which contains the phrase “I’m as crazy as hell, and I’m not going anymore. accept that! ” He said he noted the progress of his ideas at 4 a.m. one day and placed the piece of paper on his bedside table, but a member of his team picked it up and threw it away before waking up .
However, the court also heard that a video producer, acting on behalf of Mr. Palmer, had approached Universal about the licensing of Twisted Sister’s 1984 song. Universal cited a fee of A $ 150,000 ($ 116,000) and Palmer’s team made a counter-offer of A $ 35,000, which Universal rejected.
Judge Katzmann wrote that Mr. Palmer’s denials that there was a causal link between his song and Twisted Sister “defy common sense, go against contemporary documents, and have been contradicted by the evidence of his. own witnesses ”.
Mr. Palmer was ordered to pay Universal Music AU $ 500,000 in damages. Judge Katzmann added an additional A $ 1 million in damages for “blatant disregard of Universal’s rights” and for providing “false evidence, including concocting an exonerating story indicating the need for punishment and deterrence is high. The total equates to $ 1.16 million.
Adam Simpson, attorney for Universal Music, said the additional damages were the highest in Australia for music copyright, “and rightly so.”
“The court ruling sends a strong message about the unauthorized use of music, and that Mr. Palmer’s conduct was flagrant and totally unacceptable,” he said in a statement.
“No matter who you are, copyright cannot be ignored,” he added.
Twisted Sister lead singer Dee Snider also celebrated the victory by tweeting: “WE WILL NO LONGER COMMIT A COPYRIGHT BREACH !!”
The group has run into politicians looking to use “We won’t take it” before.
In 2015, Mr. Snider initially allowed Donald J. Trump to use the song as the theme of his presidential campaign, but later withdrew his permission.
Mr Palmer’s spokesperson Adam Crook said via email that Mr Palmer and his legal team will review the judgment and consider an appeal.