Could Duluth’s Mayor be sued for parody of “Gangnam Style”?

Much has been written about Duluth’s “cool” mayor, 39 year old Don Ness.

He rides a fat bike to work. He stage dives. He even does the “Gangnam Style.”

But could that parody he performed for a Duluth theater company land him a fat lawsuit? As Perfect Duluth Day points out, Universal Music has threatened four Danish mayors with lawsuits for their Gangnam Style YouTube parodies unless they pony up $10,500 each.

The mayors argue their use of the song was parody, and therefore fair use. But the music company that holds the copyright of the original track contends the mayors used the song to attempt to boost their political careers.

For Ness’ part, he says he’s not worried about a lawsuit on copyright violations. But “Can they sue you for butchering the dance,” he asks? “Just out of principle they’d almost have to sue me for that.”