They're not gonna take it: rocker wins case against Aussie politician

Sydney (AFP) –


A failed Australian populist politician was fined more than one million US dollars Friday for ripping off heavy metal band Twisted Sister's hit song "We're not gonna take it".

An Australian court ruled that mining magnate and failed 2019 election candidate Clive Palmer violated copyright law with his very familiar-sounding campaign song "Aussies not gonna cop it".

Judge Anna Katzmann noted that while Palmer and the song's author Dee Snider personally "have little in common", the music and lyrics of the two tracks "have a good deal in common".

Palmer initially claimed he wrote the track and then claimed exemption on the grounds of satire.

The judge said Palmer's arguments "defy common sense, fly in the face of the contemporaneous documents, and were contradicted by the evidence of his own witnesses".

During the court hearings, Twisted Sister frontman Snider claimed the 1984 song, which took four years to write, was considered one of the greatest songs of rebellion ever written.

Arnold Schwarzenegger had used the track -- with permission -- in his California gubernatorial campaign and for a time it was used by then US presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Palmer had appeared to model his campaign on Trump's, with bombastic attacks on "fake news" journalists, a promise to "Make Australia Great" and his wearing Trump's trademark red tie.

He had been asked to pay Aus$150,000 to use the track for 12 months, counter-offered Aus$35,000 and ending up recording his own version and paying nothing.

For that infringement, the businessman was ordered to pay Aus$1.5 ($1.2 million) in damages.

Snider hailed the victory on Twitter, saying: "It's over baby! WE WON BIG!!"

He had earlier told the court: "The songwriting process is a very emotional process for me; it comes from the heart."

"It would be devastating to me if any of my songs –- but particularly 'We're Not Gonna Take It' –- were licensed for a purpose that I consider to be offensive or contrary to my beliefs."