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Australian mining tycoon loses copyright battle with Twisted Sister

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Members of the reunited metal band Twisted Sister pose for photos ahead of a press conference in New York

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By Colin Packham

CANBERRA (Reuters) – An Australian court ordered mining tycoon Clive Palmer to pay A $ 1.5 million ($ 1.2 million) in damages to Universal Music on Friday for violating the copyright of Twisted Sister's 1984 hit, We Not Gonna Take It "politically violated advertising.

The federal court heard that Palmer refused to pay Universal to license the song but still used it with modified lyrics to advertise his political outfit, the United Australia Party (UAP), ahead of the 2019 general election.

Palmer argued that the tune in the ads was based on the Christian anthem "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" and that his lyrics – "Australia won't cope, no Australia won't cope, Aussies won't cope" – had nothing to do with the hit of US glam rockers.

Federal judge Anna Katzmann said Palmer's defense was "imaginative".

"Given the evidence, it is ridiculous in terms of respect to claim that the UAP record was made independently of (We will not take it)," she wrote in a published judgment.

Palmer has been "haughty and contemptuous" and has "provided false evidence, including fabricating a story to exonerate himself," she added.

In addition to the damage, Palmer was asked to pay the costs and remove all copies of his song.

Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider responded to the verdict on Twitter: "It's over, baby! WE WON BIG !!"

"We will not accept any more copyright infringement !!" he wrote after the verdict.

A Palmer spokesman said the businessman would review the verdict and look into an appeal.

Palmer made a fortune in real estate and mining before entering federal politics on a populist platform in 2013.

His party won a handful of seats before imploding into sharpness and fighting, and failed to win a single seat in 2019 despite spending A $ 83 million on advertising.

($ 1 = 1.2855 Australian dollars)

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