Back in 2019, Australian politician and businessman Clive Palmer used Twisted Sister‘s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” in political advertisements for the United Australia Party, without permission from the band or the rights holders, Universal Music Group. Now, Clive has been ordered to pay damages for this act of copyright infringement to the tune of $1.5 million Australian dollars, roughly equivalent to $1.17 million USD.
As reported by Blabbermouth, Palmer used the melody for “We’re Not Gonna Take It” in campaign ads in 2019 with a vocalist singing the parody lyrics, “Australia ain’t gonna cop it, no Australia’s not gonna cop it, Aussies not gonna cop it any more.” UMG filed a copyright infringement case against Palmer soon after.
In the trial that followed, Palmer’s attorneys attempted to excuse his use of the song by saying that Twisted Sister had “swindl[ed] its hit song from a famous Christmas carol,” referencing how “We’re Not Gonna Take It” is melodically similar to “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Had Palmer’s attorneys been metalheads, they might have known that Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider has always been open about how that Christmas song, along with the band Slade, inspired the smash hit.
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, writing in her judgement,”Mr. Palmer’s use of [the song] was opportunistic. 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.”
Not only does Palmer have to pay the mil and a half, he has also been ordered to pay legal costs and to remove all copies of his song and video from the Internet.
Dee Snider took to Twitter to celebrate the victory, writing, “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!!”
Congrats to Twisted Sister on this triumph. If we could wake up to news of a crossdressing hair metal band sticking it to a politician every morning, the world might be a better place.
Words by Chris Krovatin