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MCD Prince suit will hinge on email

MCD's court case against Prince for the cancellation of last year's Croke Park date crossed an important hurdle yesterday.

The Hot Press Newsdesk, 16 Dec 2008

In the High Court, Judge Peter Kelly granted MCD orders allowing them to formally serve proceedings against Prince Rogers Nelson, claiming losses of €1.66 million. The gig had been scheduled for June 16.

While no formal contract existed, MCD had already paid half of the $3 million fee agreed with Prince's agent Tony Goldring of the William Morris agency. MCD also state that Goldring sent "an unambiguous email" confirming the agreement to play the Croke Park date.

"That wouldn't be unusual," a leading promoter told Hot Press. "There often wouldn't be a contract, even for a gig of that kind. Given the speed at which everyone operates in this business, you have to be able to announce an event on the basis of an email confirmation. People do it all the time."

Whether a formal contract is essential or not may prove to be the nub of the case.

"This will be an interesting test of the strength of email and electronic commerce and what is legally binding," one legal source told Hot Press. "Without trying to prejudge the action, because the evidence has to be seen in full before any final conclusions are drawn, I suspect that people are going to have to realise that email is as binding as any other form of written communication."

The fact that MCD had already paid $1.5 million dollars is also seen as significant.

"They accepted the money on behalf of Prince," the legal source added. "If there was no agreement, why wouldn't they have returned it straight away?"

Over 55,000 tickets for the show had been sold before notification of the cancellation was officially received by MCD, on June 6. All of the tickets were subsequently refunded.

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