Mayors fined for ‘Gangam Style’ parody

Mayors have until tomorrow to retroactively pay for the rights to use Gangnam Style in their viral video about southern Funen

Four mayors from the island of Funen are being charged 240,000 kroner by the record label Universal Music for their parody of the hit 'Gangnam Style'.

In the video, the mayors wax lyrical about their region, southern Funen, while imitating the distinctive dance moves that made the South Korean performer Psy a household name.

The mayors’ version, ‘Sydfyn Style’ (South Funen Style), was dreamed up by the agency Fremtidsfabrikken to launch the region’s new branding strategy and amassed over 130,000 views in the day it was launched.

Now Universal is arguing that the video functions as a political advert for the mayors ahead of November’s council elections, in which case the use of the song would not be considered fair use.

Universal Music spokesperson Dennis Ploug argued that the sum is merely the same as the fee that the mayors would have had to pay to licence the music, but that if they don’t pay by tomorrow’s deadline, the sum demanded could rocket upward.

“We don’t think the mayors meant to do anything wrong; it was just an error,” Ploug told Fyns Amts Avis. “We have given them a deadline of Friday and if they don’t pay by then we will sue them for copyright infringement.”

After Universal Music made its claim, Fremtidsfabrikken removed the original video from YouTube and replaced it with one without sound. They argue on their website that the video was not an advertisement and should fall under fair use guidelines. A spokesperson accused the label of being greedy.

“They want money for four violations when only one has actually been committed,”  Fremtidsfabrikken project leader Susanne Aagaard told Fyns Amts Avis. “They saw an opportunity to earn an easy buck and quadrupled the bill.”

The original 'Gangnam Style' video has been viewed over 1.6 billion times on YouTube and has spawned thousands of parody videos. Although 'Sydfyn Style' has been pulled from YouTube, it can still be viewed on Politiken's website





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