Sunday 19 November 2017

Songwriter settles long-running RTE dispute over 'The Voyage' song

Johnny Duhan, leaving the Four Courts. Photo: Collins Courts
Johnny Duhan, leaving the Four Courts. Photo: Collins Courts

Aodhan O'Faolain

SINGER-songwriter Johnny Duhan has settled a long running legal dispute with RTE and a Dutch TV production company over the alleged unlicensed reproduction of a performance of his songs `The Voyage' by the Three Tenors.

In an action launched in 2002, Mr Duhan sued  production companies Radius Television Production Ltd, TV Matters BV, of Amsterdam, and RTE Commercial Enterprises Ltd, over what he claimed unlicensed reproduction - in the form of CDs, video recordings and other media - of "The Voyage" as performed by The Three Tenors.


It was claimed the recordings by The Three Tenors -  Ronan Tynan, Anthony Kearns and Finbarr Wright -  took place during a date sometime in 1999 at the RDS in Dublin and at different venues in the US.


Mr Duhan alleged that those recordings of 'The Voyage' amounted to an infringement of his copyright.   He further claimed the defendants

were at all times aware that these performances infringed his copyright.


The defendants denied the claims, and had argued they were strangers to the precise authorship and copyright entitlement alleged by Mr Duhan in the song.


Today  at the High Court, Mr Duhan, representing himself, told Ms Justice Mary Laffoy that the action had been resolved.


The action against both TV Matters BV and RTE Commercial enterprises could be struck out, he said. The court was also informed that no orders were required against Radius TV Production because it had been struck off the register.


As part of the settlement, it was also agreed that some €34,000 that had previously been lodged into court by the defendants is to be paid to Mr Duhan. No further details were revealed in open court.


Representatives of both RTE Commercial Enterprises and TV Matters told the judge that they were consenting to the settlement.  The judge struck out the action.


The case was launched over a decade ago after Mr Duhan claimed his copyright and moral rights in the song, made famous by singer Christy Moore, had been breached by the defendant companies.


The case came before the courts in 2007 when Mr Justice Dan Herbert ordered that Mr Duhan was entitled to limited legal disclosure (discovery) of documents, files, notes records, correspondence in the defendants' possession relating to any performance of 'The Voyage' produced by them within the European Union during the period January 1 1999 to December 31 2002.

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