French president Sarkozy’s UMP party (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire) has been using indie group MGMT’s song ‘Kids’ at party rallies without seeking the band’s permission. Apparently the song was played at UMP party meetings on 24 and 25 January 2009 and has also used for official videos displayed on the UMP website.
UMP’s public relations firm has confirmed using the song but insists that it was ‘an unintentional mistake’. The UMP has offered the band one Euro in symbolic damages for copyright infringement but MGMT’s lawyer has already rejected the offer as ‘disrespectful of the rights of artists and authors’ and ‘insulting’ and is demanding full compensation.
The UMP paid a standard 53 Euro fee to SACEM, the French music licensing body to download the song, but this does not cover rebroadcasting or public performances.
Interestingly, a French anti-file sharing law is to be debated by French national assembly in about a week’s time and the UMP has taken a tough stance on file sharing and online piracy, demanding stricter laws against infringers of musicians’ copyright.
There was an Israel precedent for this, with SHAS, the Sephardi Torah Guardians Party using “Copa de la Vida” a Ricky Martin pop tune as its campaign jingle in 1999; the scantily-clad dancers from the Puerto Rican’s video were replaced by shots of black-suited rabbis, and the Hebrew lyrics related to Torah study and righteousness. The party was successfully sued by Universal Studios. The party was also sued by Ethnics and Eyal Golan for their use of songs “Leaving by the Window” and “Noone’s like Mother” in the same campaign.