Copyright Infringement

Mining Magnate Must Pay Twisted Sister for Copyright Breach

A court has ordered Australian mining tycoon Clive Palmer to pay damages of A$1.5 million (U.S. $1.2 million) to Universal Music for infringing on Twisted Sister’s copyright for their 1984 hit, “We Not Gonna Take It,” which he used in political ads.

The lawsuit claimed that Palmer used the song, with altered lyrics, in advertising for his United Australia Party (UAP), leading up to the 2019 general election, while refusing to pay to license the track.

In his counter-argument, Palmer claimed that the song in the ads was based on the hymn “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” and that the lyrics— “Australia ain’t gonna cop it, no Australia’s not gonna cop it, Aussies not gonna cop it anymore“—were in no way related to the U.S. rock band’s song.

In light of the evidence, Justice Anna Katzmann called Palmer’s defense “fanciful.” The judge also accused the defendant of making up a false story and behaving in a contemptuous way. 

The court also ordered Palmer to pay for all costs of the trial, in addition to the damages awarded, and remove copies of his song from all media.

Twisted Sister lead singer Dee Snider announced the band’s copyright win on Twitter, and responded to the court’s decision by writing, “We’re not gonna take copyright infringement anymore!!”

Palmer’s fortune came from mining and real estate, and in 2013, he entered Australian federal politics on a populist platform. His party, which won a small number of seats in the first election, became embroiled in animosity and in-fighting and did not even win a single seat in 2019, despite A$83 million in advertising spending.

Palmer’s spokesperson said that he would closely examine the ruling and would consider appealing.

Reuters – April 30, 2021 – Colin Packham

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