Controversial billionaire Clive Palmer has been ordered to pay an eighties hair metal band $1.5 million after he ripped off one of their songs without permission. On Friday, Mr. Palmer has ruled the loser against Universal Music and Twisted Sister in the Federal Court. Justice Anna Katzmann delivered a harsh judgment called Mr. Palmer a “most unimpressive witness” and included a subtle dig at his original poetry.
“He was an unreliable witness whose evidence was at times incredible,” she said. She said Mr. Palmer had “waxed lyrical about his creative side” during the court case. She said he claimed to have regularly published poems that were “considered very moving and genuine”, adding that this opinion was “according to his wife”.
Universal had sued him for ripping off Twisted Sister classic ‘We’re Not Going To Take It’ in a knock-off song, ‘Aussies Not Gonna Cop It’, used to advertise his political party, UAP, in the 2019 federal election. Mr. Palmer had told the court he composed the work while “deep in contemplation” about “what the party was trying to achieve for ordinary Australians”.
He claimed he wrote ‘Aussies Not Gonna Cop It’ the September before the election and that his inspiration was the movie Network. But it was “inescapable” to conclude there were only minor differences between the Twisted Sister song and Mr. Palmer’s campaign song, she said.
“In the face of the evidence it is, with respect, ludicrous to suggest that the UAP recording was created independently,” she said. Mr. Palmer had also argued that the Twisted Sister song was a rip-off of Christmas carol ‘O Come All Ye Faithful, which was rejected. In her judgment, Justice Anna Katzmann said Mr. Palmer. — using the alias Terry Smith — approached Universal about using the song.
But he baulkedbalked proposed $150,000 fee and requirement for Twister Sister frontman Dee Snider to see and approve the ad before it went to air. So he used the song without permission, the judgment found. The lawsuit was filed in February 2019 and resolved on Friday, with P, Almer coming out $1.5 million poorer. Judge Katzmann also ordered Mr. Palmer. Remove his parody knock-off from the internet.
The song was used in video advertisements for Mr. Palmer.’s political party United Australia Party, infringing Twister Sister frontman Dee Snider’s copyright as he wrote the music and lyrics. The court had heard Mr. Snider. worked on the hit song, released in 1984, over several years. “The songwriting process is a very emotional process for me; it comes from the heart,” Mr. Snider. had told the court.
“It would be devastating to me if any of my songs – but particularly We’re Not Gonna Take It– we’re licensed for a purpose that I consider to be offensive or contrary to my beliefs because I would feel like I was supporting a cause against my will.
“I want to prevent my music being used in association with products, companies, or mes, sages which I find objectionable. I view this as a fundamental and valuable part of my rights as a performer and songwriter.” Justice Katzmann said, “the I, integrity of his songwriting was, and remains, very important to him”.
‘We’re Not Going To Take It’ had been used in political campaigns before with permission, including for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s run for Governor of California. It was also used with permission early in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign — until Mr. Snider. Asked him to stop as he agreed is policies, and he did.
Mr. Palmer. Must hand over “all unauthounauthorizeductions” of the song to Universal Music. And as well as the $1.5 million in damages, he must pay the legal costs of his opponents of filing the lawsuit against him. Despite the advertising blitz, including the knock-off song, the United Australia Party did not win any seats in the 2019 election.
In a statement, Universal’s lawyer Adam Simpson said the judgment showed no one could get away with copyright infringement. “Mr. Palmer.’s conduct was blatant and entirely unacceptable,” he said. “Using songs in advertising, particularly in politics, without permission is an affront to songwriters.
“Today’s decision rights that wrong. It also sends a broader that no matter who you are, copyright cannot be ignored. “The additional damages award of $1m is one of the highest for copyright infringement in Australia and the highest about music copyright – and rightly so. “It’s a salutary warning for those who throw caution to the wind.
“The decision is also a welcome clarification of the ‘parody or satire’ defencedefensesimply, the defencedefensenly apply if the purpose of the use was for parody or satire and it must also be ‘fair’. “Clive Palmer’s use was for a political campaign and was anything but fair.”