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MGMT win piracy row with Sarkozy's party

PARIS — Alternative act MGMT has beef with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“No time to think of consequences/Take only what you need from it,” sings American psychedelic indie rock band MGMT in its popular anthem “Kids.”

This was exactly what French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party did when it used the song without the band’s permission.

Now the ruling UMP party, which faced the threat of a lawsuit, has agreed to pay a financial compensation to the band, MGMT’s French lawyer said on Tuesday.

Asked if the settlement fee amounted to 30,000 euros ($39,050), a sum cited by France Info radio, Isabelle Wekstein told Reuters by phone: “There has been an agreement of that order.”

She described the settlement as “satisfactory” and said the band would be giving the fee to an artists’ rights organization.

The Brooklyn-based duo had threatened to sue the UMP party after it used “Kids” at its national congress in January, during a field trip by the party leader and in online videos.

The dispute is being settled as the French parliament will vote again on April 29 on a government-backed bill to crack down on Internet piracy. The bill was rejected the first time around in an embarrassing defeat for the ruling UMP party.

The UMP had admitted using the MGMT track without permission, but had said it was not intentional.

It had initially offered the band one euro in symbolic damages for copyright infringement.

The rockers, who in another of their hits “Time to Pretend” sing “Let’s make some money, find some models for wives,” had rejected that offer as “insulting.”

The UMP had paid a standard 53-euro fee to the French music licensing body, the SACEM, but the lawyer had argued this did not cover subsequent uses of the track, particularly on the web.

The UMP party’s secretary general Xavier Bertrand had then promised that MGMT would get a fair compensation.

“We did not want to be ‘typical Americans’ and sue, despite the amazing monetary benefit and chinchilla coats and Navigators it would bring, instead we are using the settlement fee the UMP presented and donating it to artists’ rights organizations,” the band wrote  on its Web site.

MGMT won the Best New Band and Best Track prizes at the Shockwaves NME Awards in February.

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