I finally found a meaty court case where a music company is suing a brand for infringing copyright. This one is a cracker – a global multinational on one side, and the Australian billionaire politician on the other. Happening right now in Sydney. I’ll be an “expert commentator”. Should be fun. Maybe we’ll all learn something. Here’s Part 1.

You’ll find the full transcript below:


Music copyright can be quite complicated from a legal perspective, and you would think there’d be lots of court cases, but if you did think that you’d be wrong, there are hardly any.

We’ve been doing this for about 20 years and I’m a student of legal cases and man, it’s hard to find any significant copyright ones and there’s a really good reason for that.  See, what happens is, if a advertising campaign infringes copyright in any way, everybody tries to bury it. You think about it, if the agency made a mistake, they’re embarrassed, they want to cover it up and get it dealt with as quickly as possible. And do you think the client wants to go to court? Do you think some big brand wants to be dragged into court when they’ve trampled over the rights of some poor starving musician, which is always the way it’s going to appear? They can’t win that PR battle so they settle. The end result is we don’t have much case law for sync licensing, which makes it difficult for people like me to tell our clients this is what’s going to happen if you infringe.

The reason I’m talking about this today is that we have a really meaty one going on right now in Australia, and I’m going to provide some commentary. So today is just an introduction to Universal Music versus Clive Palmer, Australian politician. Universal launched legal action against Clive in February last year, and it’s taken all this time for the case to hit the court, but it was hot news last week, and I’m going to try and interpret the case from the perspective of a music supervisor and hopefully help you with a few tips along the way.

What Universal is saying is that Clive’s United Australia Party infringed the copyright on Twisted Sister’s 1980s hit, “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. Both sides were pretty outraged. When Universal went to court, Clive threw all kinds of insults at Twisted Sister, calling them washed up and so on, and Twisted Sister’s band manager, JJ French said, and I quote, “We have no idea who this guy is. This use is unauthorized and we’ll do our best to stop it.” So there, so I thought I’d put my journalist hat on, or perhaps my expert interpreter hat on. Anyway, whatever. There’s some fascinating stuff that’s come out in court last week and I’m looking forward to talking about it. I’m not going to get into the detail today though. All I’m going to give you today simply is Clive’s cover version of the song. Here it is. It’s a ripper.

Clive’s TVC:



Authorized by Clyde Palmer for the United Australia Party, Brisbane.

Please contact us if you need help with music searches or licensing songs for advertising campaigns, or just want to chat about music and advertising. We would love to hear from you! About anything really.
bruce at musicmill.com.au
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/bruce-tweedie-musicmill
Website: www.musicmill.com.au

Credit: the opening and closing sequences feature “Strong Hands” from Ben Catley:
The song: https://soundcloud.com/bencatley/stro…
About Ben: open.spotify.com/artist/66OGdUyXn2WSipn6ZYq7id

Disclaimer re copyright and fair use: https://www.musicmill.com.au/fair-use/