An Australian politician was ordered Friday to pay Universal Music more than $1 million for using the Twisted Sister song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” in his party’s advertising.
The politician, Clive Palmer, who is a billionaire mining magnate, had argued in court that the lyrics of the song used in 2019 election advertising for his United Australia Party, with thrashing guitars and the line “Australia ain’t gonna cop it,” were his own original work.
But the band objected strongly after fans asked them about the advertisements on Twitter, and Universal Music, which owns the rights to “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” launched copyright infringement proceedings against Palmer in Australia’s Federal Court.
In a ruling Friday, Justice Anna Katzmann rejected Palmer’s claims about the song, labeling parts of his account “ludicrous” and “fanciful.”
Palmer gave evidence during the trial in October that he had been inspired by the 1976 movie “Network,” which features the phrase “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!”
HALLELUJAH!! Just found out that the copyright infringement of "We're Not Gonna Take It" by "politician" Clive Palmer in Australia has been decided MAJORLY in favor of myself as writer and @UMG as publishers! WE'RE NOT GONNA TAKE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT ANY MORE!!— Dee Snider?? (@deesnider) April 30, 2021
He said he had written down the progression of his ideas at 4 a.m. one day and placed the piece of paper on his bedside table, but a member of his staff had picked it up and thrown it away before he woke.
A side by side comparison of Twisted Sister’s 1984 hit ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ and the 2019 United Australia Party jingle ‘Australia’s Not Gonna Cop it’.
However, the court also heard that a video producer, acting on behalf of Palmer, had approached Universal about licensing Twisted Sister’s 1984 song. Universal quoted a fee of 150,000 Australian dollars ($116,000), and Palmer’s team made a counteroffer of 35,000 Australian dollars, which Universal rejected.
Adam Simpson, the lawyer for Universal Music, said the additional damages award was the highest in Australia for music copyright, “and rightly so.”
“The court’s determination sends a strong message about the unauthorized use of music, and that Palmer’s conduct was blatant and entirely unacceptable,” he said in an statement.
A judge in Australia ruled against a billionaire whose political advertisements used a song with thrashing guitars and the lines “Australia ain’t gonna cop it.” https://t.co/QymRVRXVf8— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) April 30, 2021
“No matter who you are, copyright cannot be ignored,” he added.
Dee Snider, Twisted Sister’s lead singer, also celebrated the win, tweeting: “WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT ANY MORE!!”