Australian politician Clive Palmer has been ordered to pay AUS$1.5 million (approx. $1.17 million) in damages after losing a copyright case involving TWISTED SISTER‘s song “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”
In 2019, Palmer used the melody and rhythm of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” in his political advertisements for the United Australia Party. The advertisements feature a vocalist singing the TWISTED SISTER song’s melody along with the lyrics: “Australia ain’t gonna cop it, no Australia’s not gonna cop it, Aussies not gonna cop it any more.”
Universal Music, which acquired publishing rights to “We’re Not Gonna Take It” from TWISTED SISTER singer Dee Snider in 2015, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Palmer in February 2020.
During the trial, Palmer accused TWISTED SISTER of “swindling its hit song from a famous Christmas carol.” Snider had previously admitted that glam rock band SLADE and “O Come, All Ye Faithful” were influences while he was writing “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”
Palmer‘s attorney played a mashup of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” performed during a live Christmas concert in Chicago, which was featured in the 2014 stage musical “Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale.”
Universal attorney Patrick Flynn told the court that Palmer had balked at paying a $150,000 copyright fee to use the song, instead offering just $35,000.
Earlier today, Federal Court Justice Anna Katzmann ruled that Palmer was guilty of infringing the copyright of both the musical and literary work of the original track.
“Mr. Palmer‘s use of [the song] was opportunistic,” Katzmann wrote in her judgment. “He saw political and personal advantage in both its notoriety or popularity and the message it conveyed and he thought that he could get away with using it merely by altering some of the words. He was wrong.”
Along with having to cop $1.5 million in damages, Palmer has also been ordered to pay legal costs and to remove all copies of his song and video from the Internet.