Twisted Sister 'not gonna take it' from Clive after court win
Queensland businessman Clive Palmer has been ordered to pay $1.5 million damages after a judge found he flagrantly infringed the copyright of American heavy metal band, ‘Twisted Sister’s song ‘We're Not Gonna Take It’.
In a scathing 126-page judgment delivered on Friday, Justice Anna Katzmann found the billionaire was a "most unimpressive witness" who gave false evidence, including concocting a story to exculpate himself.
Justice Katzmann said:
"He saw political and personal advantage in both (the song's) 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."
Lead singer Dee Snider contended Mr Palmer used his band's 1980s hit as inspiration for a song ‘Aussies Not Gonna Cop It’, broadcast in videos and ads for his United Australia Party in the 2019 federal election campaign.
The businessman first argued the song was actually a rip-off of the Christmas carol ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’, before relying on the defence of fair dealing for the purpose of parody or satire.
But the Federal Court judge rejected his case, finding in favour of Universal Music Publishing Pty Ltd.
She ordered Mr Palmer to pay $500,000 for the "notional licence fee," and additional "substantial" damages of $1 million.
While noting the singer and businessman had "little in common," Justice Katzmann concluded the music and lyrics of the two songs "have a good deal in common.”
Snider testified that his song has "a strong message of defiance, but the lyrics are quite non-specific" and it was important to him that the message not be directed to any particular authority figures or causes.
Justice Katzmann said;
"According to Mr Snider, many people consider it one of the greatest songs of rebellion ever written.”
In 2018, Mr Palmer instructed staff to begin negotiations with Universal over getting a licence to use a re-recorded version of the Twisted Sister track with possible lyric changes, later abandoned.
In his evidence, Mr Palmer claimed ‘Aussies Not Gonna Cop It’ was an original work, he had composed.
Mr Palmer waxed lyrical about his creative side saying he had regularly published poetic works, some of which his wife described as "very moving and genuine.”
He claimed his source for the song was the movie Network in which Peter Finch said ‘We're not gonna take it any more’.
The judge also permanently restrained Mr Palmer from reproducing the song and ordered him to remove it from all online locations.
Mr Palmer issued a brief statement saying he and his lawyers will review the judgment and then consider an appeal.