Updated: 27/07/17 : 12:02:51
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Sligo singer awarded €150,000 over Irish TV copyright infringement

Sligo singer Tommy Fleming suffered “a serious setback” following illegal broadcasts of his Voice of Hope DVD on an Irish television station and is entitled to damages, a High Court judge has ruled.

The Enniscrone native, his wife and manager Tina Mitchell Fleming and their company TF Productions were awarded €150,000 damages against the broadcaster Irish TV, which is currently in liquidation.

They sued Irish TV after it in December 2014 broadcast a promotional DVD sent out by the singer in relation to his 2004 recording Voice of Hope under the title the Tommy Fleming Musical Extravaganza.

The Irish Times
reported that in his judgment, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan said he was satisfied the Flemings had suffered damage and loss due to the copyright infringement.

In particular Mr Fleming “has suffered a serious set back to his entertainment career,” had been “undermined” and “the professional standard he has operated under has been damaged” by the unauthorised broadcasts.

He found the Flemings were entitled to €100,000 in damages for “infringement of intellectual property rights of which they are the owners.” In addition TF Productions was entitled to €50,000 damages as a contribution to the money it expended on minimising its losses.

Mr Justice Gilligan awarded the plaintiffs their legal costs against the defendants.
Permission

Irish TV, which operated from Westport Industrial Park, Co Mayo and broadcasted a 24-hour channel on Sky, Eir and free-to-air services, did not contest the application. The station had in correspondence before its liquidation said it believed it had permission to broadcast the show.

In his evidence to the court, Mr Fleming said the station never had his permission to broadcast Voice of Hope.

He said he learned about the broadcast from a friend and said he would never have used the term “extravaganza” in relation to his work as that word meant “circus.”

While Mr Fleming accepted that he, his wife and their company may not get much out of any damages award against a firm in liquidation, he said he had to proceed with his action because the case centered around what was their work.

Mr Justice Gilligan said Mr Fleming is “a talented artist who has been well received publically” and “has had a successful career in the entertainment industry both in Ireland and abroad.”