Culture

NSW Premier Mike Baird Tried To Make A Viral Video, Ended Up Infringing Copyright Instead

Whups.

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The NSW state election is just over a month away, and government and opposition both are test-driving ways to best hone their pitch to voters without reminding them of how many of their MPs have wound up in front of ICAC lately. To reach out to the Youth and their well-documented love of #dank #memes, Premier Mike Baird released a Jimmy Kimmel-inspired video yesterday where he reads out mean tweets people have written about him, before hating on Justin Bieber and mentioning Taylor Swift because focus groups suggest that’s what the kids are into these days. It’s basically what you’d expect a time-poor political staffer to come up with when ordered to “make something go viral,” but it’s not a bad effort.

Unfortunately for the Liberals, the plan to sell Baird as NSW’s Memelord-in-Chief has hit a bit of a snag. We were able to embed that video above because some random YouTube hero¬†went to the trouble of uploading a separate copy, but the original has been pulled down following a copyright claim from Warner Chappell, the company that owns the rights to both Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ and R.E.M’s ‘Everybody Hurts’. The Daily Telegraph still have the video up too, suggesting that they were given a copy of their own rather than having to wait for the YouTube video like the Sydney Morning Herald did.

It’s not the first time conservative politicians have gotten in hot water for using other people’s music without permission — the Foo Fighters famously savaged US Republican Presidential candidate John McCain in 2008 for using ‘My Hero’ on his campaign tour, and Mike Huckabee’s use of BOSTON’s ‘More Than A Feeling’ in the same year prompted an angry letter from BOSTON lead singer Tom Scholz — an Obama supporter — in which he said he would never licence the song to “endorse a candidate who is the polar opposite of most everything BOSTON stands for.” Turns out most musicians aren’t cool with their music being used in conservative political advertising, especially without their consent.

Infringing copyright isn’t the most media-savvy attempt to connect with younger voters a politician’s ever tried, but it beats the hell out of that time Baird appeared in an ad for the Daily Telegraph alongside Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine. Here it is again, in case Baird was hoping you’d shaken off the memory (get it? GET IT? Aaaah, you get it.)