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Universal Music wants 'Romney Girl' video pulled from YouTube

September 14, 2012|By Randy Lewis | This post has been updated. See note below for details.
  • Satirical 'Romney Girl' video may be pulled from YouTube.
Satirical 'Romney Girl' video may be pulled from YouTube. (RomneyGirl.org )

The end may be near, on YouTube anyway, for “Romney Girl,” a politically pointed video satire jabbing Massachusetts Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, now that creators have stated that Universal Music Group has ordered the video to pulled by 5 p.m. Friday on charges of copyright infringement.

“Romney Girl” adapts the music from the 1997 dance-pop hit by Aqua into a satirical celebration of Romney’s wealth and his reluctance to release more financial information, a tack that the video’s creators argue represents “fair use” of the source material.

The video, which also can be seen on the Romney Girl website, www.romneygirl.org, features singer Heidi Svenda Bernasconi, aka “Romney Girl,” and a Romney impersonator.

The refrain of “Romney Girl”:

I’m a Romney girl, in a Romney world

Life is taxless, it’s fantastic

The Romney character repeatedly chants: “I’m Mitt Romney, let’s go party.”  The video has received more than 665,000 hits since being posted to YouTube on Aug. 6 by the Agenda Project Action Fund.

“We feel very strongly that we are both legally and morally justified in our use of the ‘Barbie Girl’ song through the 'fair use' exception,” Agenda Project Action Fund President Erica Payne said in a statement issued Thursday.

“We are speaking to counsel about this and hope to continue sharing Ms. Bernasconi's wonderful taxless life with her admirers across the world,” Payne’s statement continued. “However, there is a strong possibility that our lawyers will advise us that despite our legal right to use the song, we should not risk being attacked by a major multi-national corporation with resources that far exceed our own." 

Agenda’s statement quoted from the cease-and-desist letter it received from UMG attorney Cory Greenwall, which stated, "In the event that you fail to comply with any of our demands... we shall take whatever legal action we deem necessary and appropriate to protect our rights and interests in and to 'Barbie Girl,' including, but not limited to, commencing legal action against you." 

Representatives for UMG did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Times.

"If we ultimately decide to comply with Universal Music Group's demands, it will have nothing to do with right and wrong and everything to do with money,” Payne’s statement said. “When big corporations want something, they typically get it.... This is about who has the most money, who has the most political influence, and who has the highest paid lawyers."

Update at 11:23 a.m.: "Our lawyer told us they would definitely sue and they would bury us, so for now we are going to pull it," Payne told The Times on Friday. She also said once it is removed from YouTube, it will no longer be accessible on the Romney Girl web site either.

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