Music

A Chilean Presidential Candidate Used Jinja Safari’s Song Without Asking

The young Sydney band were surprised when ‘Peter Pan’ turned up in a former President's campaign commercial. Nobody bothered to check with them first. Oops.

Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is running for another term in office, and is about to receive a very stern letter in the mail.

One of her campaign commercials features the 2010 song ‘Peter Pan’ by Sydney band Jinja Safari — but nobody bothered to ask Jinja Safari if they were okay with it.

The band and their management were shocked earlier today when a Chilean fan sent them a link to the video in question: “I just want to know if she is paying you for use of one of your more known songs, if she’s paying for your rights as musicians.”

The Bachelet campaign ad shows a cross-section of fresh-faced Chilean citizens — a doctor, a business-y guy, a construction worker — emerging from a polling booth to the track’s upbeat, percussive intro.

Bachelet, who is running with the support of the Communist Party, shared this compilation video with her 500,000-plus Facebook fans ahead of Chile’s elections this month.

The ad in question begins at the 0:29 mark.

For comparison’s sake, here the original:

Pretty undeniable, no?

Speaking to Junkee earlier today, Jinja Safari’s co-manager Blake Rayner stressed that, in an era of declining record sales, music synchronisation is vital income for young bands. “Sadly, it’s not uncommon for corporations to use a song that ‘sounds right’ for their brand or message without asking permission,” he said. “It’s happened several times in Jinja Safari’s short career, and in all those instances we pursued and won damages.” The band’s lawyers are now preparing an infringement notice for Bachelet’s office.

Jinja Safari find themselves in an unusual situation, but they’re in good company; there’s a long history of bands and political figures coming to blows over unauthorised use of music. In a well-known 2010 case, David Byrne sued Florida Governor Charlie Crist for pilfering the Talking Heads track ‘Road To Nowhere.’ In 2000, Tom Petty once sent a cease-and-desist letter to George W. Bush, asking him to kindly stop playing the song ‘I Won’t Back Down’ at rallies; he sent another to Michelle Bachman in 2011, for using ‘American Girl’. Heart sent a similar letter to Sarah Palin regarding their song ‘Barracuda’, while Don Henley sued California senate candidate Chuck DeVore for his use of ‘Boys Of Summer’ and ‘All She Wants To Do Is Dance.’

“Use of any artistic element in a political campaign or message should be subject to the permission of the artist or copyright holder,” Raynor emphasised. “Jinja Safari’s dispute is not about the politics; it’s more about the basics.”

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