Copyright alive and kicking: MGMT v Sarkozy's UMP, Annie Leibovitz 'pawns' her copyrights

The IPKat has come across two news items concerning copyright matters. The Guardian reports that French president Sarkozy's UMP party (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire) is to compensate indie group MGMT for using their song 'Kids' at recent party rallies without seeking the band's permission. According to the news report the song was played at UMP party meetings on 24 and 25 January 2009 and was also used for official videos displayed on the UMP website. 'It seems that those who led the charge against internet users are not the most respectful of copyright', the band's French lawyer Isabelle Wekstein is cited in the Guardian.

According to a report by AFP, UMP's public relations firm has now confirmed the use of the song but insists that it was 'an unintentional mistake'. The UMP has offered the band one (1) Euro in symbolic damages for copyright infringement. AFP further reports that MGMT's lawyer has already rejected the offer as 'disrespectful of the rights of artists and authors' and 'insulting' and has demanded full financial compensation. According to Ms. Wekstein, the UMP has only paid a standard 53 Euro fee to SACEM, the French music licensing body, which did not cover subsequent uses of the song, particularly on the internet.

The timing of this copyright controversy is not devoid of a certain irony given that the new French anti-file sharing law is due to be presented to the French national assembly in about a week's time. Even more so because of the UMP's strict stance in France's debate over file sharing and online piracy. The UMP has repeatedly demanded stricter laws against those who infringe on musicians' copyright.

Et voilà .... thinks Merpel, while the IPKat says merci to his friend and famous blogger Frédéric Glaize for alerting the Kat to the UMP's 'symbolic' compensation offer.

In other copyright related news famous photographer Annie Leibovitz (shown left) has reportedly 'pawned' the rights to her life's work in order to borrow £10.8m from Art Capital Group, a Manhattan lender, to pay off debts. The Telegraph reports that Ms. Leibovitz secured the loan partly against copyrights and contract rights to 'every photograph she has ever taken or will take in future as collateral'.
The Telegraph explains that in the current economic climate more and more wealthy US art collectors are turning to their art collections to raise capital. Art lenders appear to work 'like a high class pawnshop' by lending up to 40 per cent of the work's worth, and taking possession of the actual work.

More information on France's proposed new law can be found here (in French) and here (in English)
More information on Annie Leibovitz can be found here.
Copyright alive and kicking: MGMT v Sarkozy's UMP, Annie Leibovitz 'pawns' her copyrights Copyright alive and kicking: MGMT v Sarkozy's UMP, Annie Leibovitz 'pawns' her copyrights Reviewed by Birgit Clark on Thursday, February 26, 2009 Rating: 5


  1. I am getting an image of Sarko dancing to MGMT in his platform shoes, with Carla on backing vocals, which is quite arresting.

  2. The news about Leibovitz is interesting. Lenders such as Art Capital Group usually don't rely on "famous" copyright owners for their client base, but the fact that Leibovitz has taken heed to the rise in awareness as to IP financing options proves the real emergence of this market at a time when other asset-based lending has slowed. I had developed a piece about this niche lending market after I read the article on NY Times online. This aspect of IP's inherent character will be fascinating to follow.

    Ian McClure - IP attorney and author of

  3. MGMT case settled for 30 000 euros (source:


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