TWISTED SISTER singer Dee Snider has testified in a case involving Australian politician Clive Palmer and the band’s classic song “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.
Palmer adopted the melody and rhythm of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” in his political advertisements for the United Australia Party. The advertisements feature a vocalist singing the TWISTED SISTER song’s melody along with the lyrics: “Australia ain’t gonna cop it, no Australia’s not gonna cop it, Aussies not gonna cop it any more.”
In TWISTED SISTER‘s original, Snider sings: “Oh we’re not gonna take it, no we ain’t gonna take it, oh we’re not gonna take it anymore.”
Universal Music, which acquired publishing rights to “We’re Not Gonna Take It” from Snider in 2015, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Palmer in February.
Palmer accused TWISTED SISTER of “swindling its hit song from a famous Christmas carol.” Snider had previously admitted that glam rock band SLADE and “O Come, All Ye Faithful” were influences while he was writing “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.
The opening five words in the lyrics of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” have the same melody as the song in the ad, as well as the chorus of “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, but the Christmas carol follows a different chord progression and is traditionally played in a different musical style to both the ad and the TWISTED SISTER classic.
“The rendition was awful, the message was misrepresentative, and Mr. Palmer‘s image is not good for my heavy metal image either,” Snider, appearing from the U.S. told the court, according to News.com.au. “There is nothing to gain from that representation.”
Palmer‘s attorney played a mashup of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, performed during a live Christmas concert in Chicago, which was featured in the 2014 stage musical “Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale”.
Snider said the two songs were “rhythmically different, and that is inspiration not duplication.” He added the songs had to be “shoehorned” together to create the versions used in his musical and the 2006 cover. “It was very difficult,” he said.
Universal attorney Patrick Flynn told the court that Palmer had balked at paying a $150,000 copyright fee to use the song, instead offering just $35,000.
The hearing continues before Justice Anna Katzmann.