Qatar Airways ordered to disclose inflight entertainment documents in copyright infringement dispute with the Performing Rights Society

In December 2019, airline giant Qatar Airways landed themselves in hot water with the Performing Rights Society (PRS) over the use of the PRS members’ music on their planes without a licence.

In a preliminary hearing in July 2020, Qatar Airways attempted to have the case thrown out at the High Court on the grounds that it should be heard in Doha, Qatar instead of England however, in his 25-page decision based on the principles known as the ‘Spiliada-test’, (Spiliada Maritime Corporation v Cansulex Ltd [1987] AC 460) Judge Colin Birss said “The case is really a global copyright dispute between a UK holder of those global rights and a Qatari user of the protected content who is using it all over the world.”

Earlier this week, the UK High Court ruled in favour of PRS again, ordering Qatar Airways to disclose documents in respect of its inflight entertainment systems and apps. Whilst the Airlines argued that the costs to carry out the disclosure were disproportionate and cannot be justified, Deputy Master Francis said: “The issues in dispute are complex, and of very great importance to both parties. In that context, I am satisfied that if it is otherwise appropriate to make orders for Extended Disclosure in the terms sought, I should not be deterred by the extent of that exercise or the costs which will be involved.”

If you have any questions relating to this article, or you believe your works have been infringed, contact Lawdit Solicitors today.

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