Henry Hadaway- the Man behind 80’s Hit ‘The Birdie Song’ Wins High Court Battle Over West End Hits
Written by Fozia Cheychi on 27 November 2015« Return to Reading Room
Henry Hadaway who heads the Henry Hadaway Organisation distribution company sued Pickwick Group, a music publisher. The dispute concerned rights to recordings of songs from popular west end shows such as such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Lion King. The songs in question were written by fellow music producer Gordon Lorenz, who was famous for the 1980’s hit ‘Grandma’. Mr Hadaway and Mr Lorenz had collaborated during their careers and before Mr Lorenz passed away in 2011, he had signed over the rights to a collection of songs that he wrote in the 1990’s.
The case was heard in The Intellectual Property Enterprise Court- a division of the High Court. Last month the High Court heard that the producer of the songs Gordon Lorenz had assigned the rights to the songs to Mr Hadaway in 2008, three years before his death.
Mr Hadaway’s barrister- Jaani Riordan told the High Court that this agreement meant that Mr Hadaway's Company owned the copyright and therefore the right to distribute Mr Lorenz’s works. He stated “Pickwick Group Ltd is a commercial music distributor who has decided to release a large collection of valuable recordings without any rights to do so. It has exploited those recordings commercially for a period of five year.” He added that the songs had been “deliberately taken with a profit motive” and that “the company knew or must have known that it had no rights whatsoever to exploit the recordings.” Mr Riordan described Pickwick’s infringement as “callous and flagrant”.
Pickwick accepted that the company did not own the rights to the material, but contested Mr Hadways assertion to the rights.
The trial has concluded with Deputy High Court judge Melissa Clarke deciding that the Henry Hadaway Organisation was either the “exclusive licensee” or copyright owner of the disputed sound recordings.
During the proceedings Mr Lorenz was described amongst other things as being “a blusterer” and “irritating to deal with.” Judge Melissa Clarke took a different view and concluded that she “had no difficulty whatsoever” in rejecting the allegations and upholding Mr Lorenz’s good name. She commented that “baseless slurs” against Mr Lorenz were nothing more than an attempt to discredit his memory and bolster Pickwick’s case. She further described Mr Lorenz as “a larger than life character, a man of great energy, creativity and drive.”
Mr Hadway is now entitled to either damages or an account of the profits made by Pickwick as a result of the breach of his copyright.
Following the ruling Mr Hadaway commented “I’m not happy, I’m content. The industry needs people to be honest. More Important than money is to make sure that my rights are protected.”
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