Four mayors of Danish towns have been targeted by Universal Music and threatened with lawsuits unless they pay the media giant $42,000 within 24 hours — because they made a Gangnam Style parody and posted it to YouTube. The video features the mayors dancing and illustrating the difficulties faced by entrepreneurs in their cities. Universal says that the mayors' use of the actual soundtrack in the video was a step too far.
The argument appears to stem from the use of the track. While the mayors believe their contribution to the Psy phenomenon was entirely for parody purposes and therefore fair use, Universal sees things very differently. They insist that the mayors were actually attempting to increase their own profiles and used the video – and Universals copyrights – in order to boost their political careers.
"It is clear that we have in mind that there are local elections in a minute," said Universal's Dennis Ploug in a statement.
As a result, Universal say that the mayors will have to pay a bill of almost $42,000 ($10,500 each) to obtain a license to use the music in the video – and they have just 24 hours to stump up the cash.
"We have given them a payment deadline of Friday, but if they do not pay before then it becomes a real action for infringement, and so the amount will be completely different," Ploug concludes.
Universal Music Tells Gangnam Parody Mayors: Pay $42,000 By Tomorrow, Or Else