Simpsons Solicitors

Too cavalier at The Cavallero?

August 26th 2013

The reviews for The Cavallero in Collingwood were on the whole pretty good on UrbanSpoon, while The Age back in 2007 said that “With more places like this, Smith Street might just become respectable”. Pity the owners of The Cavallero didn’t spend as much time making sure it had all the copyright licences it needed: a recent case has ordered the owners to pay just over $2,000 in overdue licence fees to PPCA for playing sound recordings – and nearly $70,000 for both additional damages and legal costs.

The action against the restaurant was brought by PPCA, which is the collecting society that issues licences on behalf of record companies and other owners of copyright in sound recording. Factors which went towards the court awarding $60,000 for additional damages were:

  • the need to deter similar infringements;
  • that over separate 20 telephone calls or letters were sent by PPCA to the owners;
  • that the infringing conduct occurred over a period of some 5 years; and
  • that by not paying the licence fees that should have been paid, the owners of the restaurant gained a benefit of not having to deduct the fees against their profits, as other restaurants had to.

One of the issues in litigation generally is that you can win a case against a company and then find it has no assets; this can be less of an issue where damages are awarded against individuals, particularly if they have any property. In this case, the court awarded the damages and costs against two individuals who were running the company that operated the restaurant – as they authorised the infringements and had the power, after being notified of the infringements, to get the licences that were needed.

The case (PPCA v Cattch Pty Ltd) is available at:

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FCCA/2013/931.html

If you need advice on copyright compliance, contact copyright lawyer Adam Simpson or Ian McDonald (Special Counsel, Copyright) at Simpsons Solicitors.