Clive Palmer will be drawing on a traditional Christmas carol to defend himself in a copyright lawsuit with Universal Music over a Twisted Sister song.
The businessman-turned-politician is being sued by the music giant in federal court for using a rewritten version of Twisted Sister’s ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ in a 2019 federal election campaign.
Now, The Australian reports that Palmer is now arguing that he didn’t realise copyright laws were attached to the chorus of ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ as it is “derived” from the Christmas carol, ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’.
On Monday (July 27), his lawyer Edmund Robinson told the court that an expert witness would be called in to compare the two songs and, if found to be similar, it would clear the copyright claims.
“If the chorus of the song is very much the same as an earlier work then that’s highly relevant on whether that’s (copyright) been breached,” he said.
Universal’s barrister Patrick Flynn called Palmer’s new defence a “surprising contention” and asked for all documents outlining why Palmer thought no copyright was attached to be handed over.
Both parties will appear in court for the hearing on August 17.
Universal Music are seeking copyright payments and additional damages from Palmer, whose initial defence was that he owned the copyright to the lyrics in his version of ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’, which he created after allegedly baulking at the price of a license for the original song.
Palmer’s jingle used the lyrics “Australia ain’t gonna cop it/no Australia’s not gonna cop it/Aussies not gonna cop it anymore” to the tune of the American band’s ‘80s rock classic. The campaign video and song appeared regularly on television and radio, as part of the Palmer United Party’s multimillion-dollar advertising scheme.
In January 2019, Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider made clear on social media that he did not endorse Palmer or his party, and that they would undertake legal action.
— Dee Snider (@deesnider) January 1, 2019
Later that month, Snider called Palmer “a common criminal, in my opinion” in an interview on the Today Show.
“He’s stealing my music. He’s refusing to pay the royalties that he’s supposed to pay to use it in a commercial campaign,” the rocker said. Watch it below:
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) January 29, 2019