From a Campervan! More commentary on the Universal vs Clive Palmer copyright court case, while we travel around Australia. Well OK, maybe just the state of NSW – because when we planned this all the state borders were closed.

You’ll find the full transcript below:


Here we are, bringing you part seven of my analysis of the Palmer music copyright infringement court case from the back of a camper van. Clare and I and Spike are doing a road trip going from home to the Outback and then back across to the coast. More on that in the next episode.

And welcome to the office in the back of the camper van, Clare’s here as well.


Hello, working hard too.


Back to the court case of Universal versus Clive Palmer, day three, I think we’re up to. So, nearly two years ago, in early 2019, Universal wrote to Clive and said, “Cease and desist.” More or less. And of course, Clive Palmer’s Party responded saying, more or less, “Go away, leave us alone.” And they said, and I quote, “As you are aware, the lyrics used in our Party advertisement were composed by Mr. Palmer, and he owns the copyright, not you.” Now, on this particular day, I have to say that in court, a couple of people from Palmer’s United Party got absolutely scorched. The first one was a Mr. James McDonald, the National Director of the Party. So he’s the guy who wrote the letter and claimed that Clive composed the lyrics, when what Clive actually did was changed, “We’re not gonna to take it.” To, “Australia’s not gonna cop it.”

How much composition going on there? I guess. Anyway, under cross examination, he agreed that was misleading. And how about this for an awkward exchange, the barrister for Universal says, “Did you send this letter that you’ve agreed is misleading, because that was the language that Mr. Palmer gave you?” “Yes.” Mr. McDonald replied, oh, ouch. And then later that day, they had a guy called David Wright, who was the video producer, who I guess never expected to be in court about this when he was making the video. And he was the guy who approached Universal asking for a sync license. And he was really put on the spot, on cross-examination, the Universal barrister said to him, “You wouldn’t negotiate on behalf of Mr. Palmer for a license that he didn’t need.” “No.” Mr. Wright said. And you can almost hear him squirm in the moment.

And apparently, Mr. Wright emailed Universal at one point saying that the Party would not agree to have the video vetted by an offshore musician. Now, that’s just naive, if you’re going to do a lyric change and a rerecord of a song, then it’s par for the course that an offshore musician is going to want to approve it to see what you’re doing with the song. And my guess is that the Party knew that it was unlikely that their ad would be approved, so they went their own way, and here they are in court. So what do you think, Clare? How do you rate their chances?




Zero, I would tend to agree, the verdict’s not out yet, but I don’t think it’s looking too good for the defendants. Anyway, we shall see, keep watching.

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