Australian Politician Ordered to Pay $1.2 Million for Using Altered Version of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”


Twisted Sister Australian politician
Twisted Sister, from “We’re Not Gonna Take It” video

Australian politician Clive Palmer must pay $1.5 million AUS (around $1.17 million USD) in damages after losing a copyright case involving Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.

The case stems from Palmer’s unauthorized alteration and appropriation of the song’s melody for political advertisements supporting the United Australia Party. In the ads, singer Dee Snider’s original chorus is changed to: “Australia ain’t gonna cop it, no Australia’s not gonna cop it, Aussies not gonna cop it any more.”

Australia’s ABC News reports that on Friday (April 30th), an Australian federal court court sided with Snider and Universal Music Group, which acquired publishing rights from Snider in 2015.

Snider took to Twitter to share the news: “HALLELUJAH!! Just found out that the copyright infringement of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by “politician” Clive Palmer in Australia has been decided MAJORLY in favor of myself as writer and @UMG as publishers! WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT ANY MORE!!”

During the trial, Palmer’s attorney tried to prove that “We’re Not Gonna Take It” was based on Christmas carol, accusing Twisted Sister of “swindling its hit song” from “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful”. The attorney even played a mashup of the two songs from “Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale”, a stage musical held in Chicago in 2014.

While Snider had previously cited glam-rock band Slade and the aforementioned Christmas carol as inspirations for the track, the singer said the songs were “rhythmically different, and that is inspiration not duplication.” Not to mention they’re performed in vastly different musical styles.

To top it off, Palmer refused to pay a $150,000 initial copyright fee, instead offering $35,000, according to UMG attorney Patrick Flynn, before using the track anyways. Australian Federal Court Justice Anna Katzmann delivered a blunt guilty verdict, convicting Palmer of copyright infringement of the song’s lyrical and musical content:

“Mr. Palmer’s use of [the song] was opportunistic. He saw political and personal advantage in both its notoriety or popularity and the message it conveyed and he thought that he could get away with using it merely by altering some of the words. He was wrong.”

See Snider’s tweet and watch the song’s iconic music video below.