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You Are The Voice - Lawyers Admit Futility

Transcript From AAP – Received via the s11 mail group…


10.45am (AEST) JOHN Farnham's management today acknowledged it would be next to impossible to force protest group S-11 to remove the singer's best known song, You're The Voice, from its website.

The group is planning protests outside next month's World Economic Forum of corporate and political leaders in Melbourne from September 11 to 13. It ignored demands from Farnham's record company, BMG, to remove a picture of the singer and the song link from its website by 5pm yesterday.

An S-11 spokesman told ABC radio today the song, You're the Voice, was the perfect protest anthem because it was about empowering the individual, and he hoped adopting it had not upset the singer.

"I really feel it's John Farnham's lawyers because John Farnham is out of the country and I reckon he doesn't know what's going on - I don't think he'd give a toss about it, he'd probably be proud of it," the spokesman said.

"We actually told his lawyers that if John asks us to take it down, we'll take it down."

He said the group had not acted illegally as the song was not hosted on its server, but on a fan website, and only had a web link that directed visitors to the song on the fan website.

But S-11 had taken pains to make sure it could not be tracked down, registering the website under the name of News Ltd chief executive Lachlan Murdoch, care of The Age newspaper in Melbourne's Spencer St.

In a statement yesterday, S-11 spokesman David Glanz said the group had chosen to sing the song outside the WEF out of a sense of irony in order to "undermine the symbols of mainstream society".

"John Farnham has got a voice and ordinary people need to find a voice and sing out about injustice," he said.

He said the group was protesting about the effects of globalisation, the environment and economic rationalism.

"In these circumstances, John Farnham getting his nose out of joint is a very small issue indeed," Mr Glanz said.

Today, Farnham's manager Glen Wheatley said he had not expected the group to comply.

"We've asked them to cease and desist but we know that's like hitting them over the face with a feather," he told Channel 9's Today show.

"What are we going to do? Who are we going to sue? I mean these people are an organisation with no names and no address.

"The point of the issue is we're trying to disassociate ourselves with their tactics and their association."

Mr Wheatley said the Farnham camp did not want to be associated in any way with the protests expected outside the WEF.

"One (S-11 organiser) said Johnny should get a sense of humour about this. I'm sorry, but I don't see anything funny or humorous about what these people did in the streets of Seattle not so long ago," Mr Wheatley said.

"We oppose all of that. We just want to distance ourselves.

"They're out of control. We've all seen the footage of what happened in Seattle - that was disgraceful, that was absolutely deplorable.

"What I don't want is for them to be chanting You're the Voice and having some association and people misconstruing that and thinking that actually John Farnham supports their actions because he certainly doesn't support what they do."

Mr Wheatley said he had given the correspondence to the police as a "preventative" measure in hope the protests would not turn violent like similar protests at the World Trade Organisation meeting in Seattle last year.

"I just hope that nothing happens. I don't want to see anarchy in the streets of Melbourne. I don't want to see a recurrence of Seattle," he said.

"But I have reason to believe they are out there in the streets recruiting support now from schools and that is concerning."

But Mr Wheatley said the group had used Farnham's image and music as a publicity stunt.

"John's profile is high at the moment, being there with the number one album.

"I think that's all part of a calculated plan, and I must say that these people, so far, have been very successful in getting this country's eyes and ears wide open because they've had national publicity."


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