Portugal. The Man say Australian politician violated copyright in Christmas video
Grammy award-winning US band Portugal. The Man has accused a New South Wales Christian Democrat MLC of violating copyright law by using the group’s hit Feel It Still without permission in a video posted online.
South coast-based politician Paul Green released a video in November featuring the band’s hit song as the accompanying track.
The group later shared a tweet claiming the use of the song was a violation of copyright and that members of the band found the Australian politician’s position on LGBTQ and women’s health rights “offensive”.
The band has a long history of activism, most recently cancelling an appearance on Channel 7’s breakfast program Sunrise because of a segment in which an all-white panel discussed the merits of removing Indigenous children from their families.
This week Paul Green hit back on Twitter and denied he had breached copyright.
He has since admitted he was referring to a different video and had previously shared what he said was a home movie made by his son while the family was Christmas tree shopping, where the song was used.
“It was a Christmas fun video, a silly Dad was making a silly video with his children and they put a song to it, which I was unaware of,” Mr Green said.
“We put it on Twitter and it was bought to my attention that it might have copyright issues and I pulled it down.
“It is what it is. There was a video that the kids made and of course it was a fun video, a Christmas video, nothing to do with the Christian Democratic Party,” he said.
Confusion over party-branded material
Mr Green claimed a video posted on November 22 with the caption “CDP Paul Green TV Ad” — which has now been removed from his YouTube account — was not the video in question.
“No, that was a different that was an advertisement for television that had no song on it,” Mr Green said.
He said he was uncertain why that video had also been removed.
“I would have to chase that up, I’m not too sure about that one,” Mr Green said.
“The TV ad was made by a production company and one would have thought they would adhere to the rules of making an ad.”
He also said he was personally hurt by the accusations.
“I try and focus on what brings communities and families together, I am in a party that has strong policies, that is why I am there,” he said.
“I am elected to do those things, I just put through the first anti-slavery bill. We do a lot of good work.”
A defence of biblical proportions
Prior to his interview with the ABC, Mr Green rejected the accusation of copyright violation using lines from Psalm 24, verse 1, NIV, from the Bible.
A Psalm of David.
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.
In a statement to the ABC, Portugal. The Man’s manager Rich Holtzman said the band was frustrated Mr Green had not apologised after it had drawn attention to the alleged copyright breach.
“Paul Green used our song Feel It Still in a video he made of he and his family Christmas Tree shopping,” Mr Holtzman said.
“He pulled the video down shortly after our complaint but never responded to us, never apologised, never reacted.
Portugal. The Man says because of Paul Green’s views on LGBTQ and women’s health the band would never let him use the music (Twitter: Portugal. The Man)
“Even people who write the laws will make mistakes regarding the law, but it is the hubris and ego of a person like Paul Green to not apologise or admit their error.
“That truly disgusts us.”
Paul Green said he would apologise if the band decided to make contact with him.
“Happy to apologise to them directly if they were to call or I could find them. There’s no big deal,” he said.
“We just made a family Christmas video, having a bit of fun, and of course we’ve learnt that the issue there is not as it seems. So we’ve dealt with it.”