The music stops for one Mackay nightclub

The Federal Magistrates Court’s recent judgment in favour of Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) shows the potential for additional damages for those involved in flagrant acts of copyright infringement.

PPCA, the society dealing with copyright royalties collection for publicly performed sound recordings, was granted summary judgment by the Court against the directors of the defendant, a company that owns a nightclub in Mackay, Queensland.

In its application for summary judgment, PPCA outlined how it had repeatedly notified the defendant of its obligation to pay the dues for publicly performing the sound recordings. The defendants however paid no heed to a mediation request or even to the litigation threats from PPCA and had been incessantly refusing to pay any dues towards the mounting license fees for nearly three years.

In determining the extent of damages, the Court considered the Copyright Tribunal’s valuation of the music played at the nightclub which it had proposed at $1.05 per visitor. In addition, the court determined $90,000 to be awarded as additional damages. In deciding the additional damages, the court observed that the defendant must be able to honour the damages rather than being penalized to remit an unreasonably large sum.

This case serves as a reminder of the degree of damages that can be awarded in cases where an infringing party fails to take any action to cease the infringing acts. For assistance with copyright issues please contact Certus Legal Group.

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