Topeka The Rev. Fred Phelps' church, known nationwide for picketing funerals of soldiers killed in combat, has been accused again of violating copyright laws, this time with an Internet video parody of the song "Holding Out for a Hero."
Sony/ATV Music Publishing in New York City wrote Phelps this week, telling him to stop what it called unauthorized use of the song, featured in the 1984 film "Footloose." Westboro Baptist Church's parody is "There Are No Heroes."
"We're serious about any unauthorized use of copyright material," Peter Brodsky, Sony's executive vice president for business and legal affairs, said Friday.
Phelps responded to Brodsky's letter Friday by saying that because Westboro's song is a parody, it's exempt from the copyright laws.
Brodsky said he hadn't seen the letter.
This isn't the first time Phelps and his church have run afoul of a music company over song parodies. Last year, the church produced "God Hates the World," to the tune of "We are the World," and Warner/Chappel Music Inc. in Los Angeles said it viewed that as an infringement on the copyright it administers for "We are the World."
The latest parody underscores the church's position that soldiers are killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as God's punishment for the U.S. tolerating homosexuality. For years, the church has condemned homosexuality and in recent years gained national attention for picketing soldiers' funerals.