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IMRO and POD Concerts in Court Row

A major row has erupted between The Irish Music Rights Organisation and POD Concerts.

The Hot Press Newsdesk, 17 Jun 2008



In the High Court yesterday, IMRO began proceedings against POD Concerts seeking €432,000 in fees, which are alleged to be outstanding on a series of music festivals, including Electric Picnic. However Hot Press understands that POD concerts intend to dispute the basis on which the tariffs are calculated, and how they are distributed.

On Friday IMRO issued a statement confirming that it had issued proceedings against POD Concerts Ltd. The proceedings were 'in relation to a dispute in respect of the Electric Picnic music element'.

"IMRO will be in court on Monday 16th June, 2008 seeking entry into the Commercial List," the statement added, before clarifying the background to the organisation's decision to go to court. "It is IMRO's policy to rigorously pursue all outstanding royalties due to the songwriters, composers and music publishers that it represents from the commercial exploitation of their music."

Following yesterday's hearing, in which lawyers on behalf of IMRO made their opening statement, POD Concerts have responded to media coverage of the dispute, setting out their version of events in robust terms – and directly answering what POD dismisses as totally misleading statements about Electric Picnic.

"The Electric Picnic 2008 is not in doubt or in jeopardy contrary to press and media reports over the last number of days," the statement, issued today and signed by POD MD, John Reynolds, asserted.

The statement continued: "POD Concerts is in dispute with IMRO over certain issues relating to the high fees charged by IMRO to it for 'public performance' of music which are in addition to the fees paid to the artists to perform. IMRO is seeking to charge POD Concerts for performances from non-music artists involved in the Electric Picnic."

A source has told Hot Press that as far as POD Concerts are concerned, there are fundamental issues at stake – though whether that means that the case will have to go to a full hearing in two weeks – when it is due in the High Court again – remains to be seen.

IMRO have declined to make any further comment, a spokesperson telling Hot Press that they were quite happy to allow the proceedings to run their natural course and for the courts to make a decision.

POD CONCERTS STATEMENT IN FULL

Issued Tuesday 17 June 2008

The Electric Picnic 2008 is not in doubt or in jeopardy contrary to press and media reports over the last number of days.

POD Concerts is in dispute with IMRO over certain issues relating to the high fees charged by IMRO to it for “public performance” of music which are in addition to the fees paid to the artists to perform. IMRO is seeking to charge POD Concerts for performances from non-music artists involved in the Electric Picnic.

POD Concerts have been in longstanding discussions with IMRO about the issues, however IMRO has recently chosen to issue proceedings rather than mediate the disagreement. IMRO had previously refused payment from POD Concerts of the amounts now in dispute.

IMRO has not sought an injunction against Electric Picnic 2008 or any other music events promoted by POD Concerts pending a decision in the case.

In addition, in the meantime, the High Court has agreed with POD Concerts’ offer to pay the disputed fees into a holding account, and POD Concerts has confirmed that it will pay IMRO’s fees for Electric Picnic 2008 and so will be fully entitled to stage the event.

Recognising POD Concerts’ request to discuss the issues with IMRO rather than litigate, the High Court has ordered IMRO to mediate the dispute before it will hear its case.

John Reynolds

POD Concerts Limited

IMRO STATEMENT IN FULL

Issued Friday 13th June

IMRO is the national organisation which licences music users to play copyright music in public. IMRO represents the interests of songwriters, composers and music publishers in Ireland and abroad. IMRO licences users of copyright music in a wide variety of areas such as bars, hotels, music concerts, cinemas, shops etc, and then pays the licence fee arising from that public performance back to the songwriters, composers and music publishers that own the copyright in such works. IMRO is a not-for-profit organisation.

IMRO can confirm that it has issued proceedings against POD Concerts Ltd in relation to a dispute in respect of the Electric Picnic music element. IMRO will be in court on Monday 16th June, 2008 seeking entry into the Commercial List.

It is IMRO's policy to rigorously pursue all outstanding royalties due to the songwriters, composers and music publishers that it represents from the commercial exploitation of their music.

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