Who's Suing Whom: Eurovision song in another contest

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S ENTRY to the 1996 Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo, a song called "Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit", has spawned four separate legal actions concerning half a million pounds in contested royalties. Two of them are due to reach court on 5 May, but there are doubts whether there will be any money left for the claimants, should they win.

Gina G, the singer who recorded the song for the Eurovision and had a number one hit with it in the UK and elsewhere, launched legal action in November against a Kent-based music company, FX Music, which she claimed owed her over pounds 136,000 for this and other singles.

The original producers of the song, and the man who wrote it, are also suing FX Music. The firm is run by Stephen Rodway, a record producer who at one time went by the professional name of Motiv-8.

Another action by a publishing company, Peer, against Mr Rodway over royalties Peer collected for FX around the world, was settled some time ago.

Last week Simon Taube, who wrote the song, launched legal action against Mr Rodway over the copyright to the record and to pounds 61,000 that was being held in a suspense account in Barclays Bank until the dispute was cleared up.

A partner in Kanaar & Co, the law firm representing Mr Taube, said last week: "This was Mr Taube's one big hit. He hasn't received a penny so far. It's all very sad."

The saga began in 1995 when Mr Taube wrote the song. Gina G - real name Gina Gardiner - then recorded it with a two-man production team, Wainwright and Burton, who worked under the name The Next Room. Then Mr Rodway came in as a new producer and signed a deal with Mr Taube on 4 July 1995 giving Mr Rodway 30 per cent of the songwriting copyright.

Mr Taube claims that since then he has received none of the estimated pounds 408,000 in royalties that Mr Rodway's company FX has collected from sales of the song.

When he complained to Mr Rodway, Mr Taube says the latter agreed to pay pounds 61,000 into a suspense account until the matter was settled. Mr Taube says that last December Mr Rodway withdrew the money from the bank. Last week Mr Taube issued a writ through Kanaar & Co, and his case along with The Next Room's claim is due to reach court in May.

Mr Rodway was unavailable for comment.

THE TEAM that led a management buyout (MBO) of the security guard business from Orbis, the manpower services group, last year is suing Orbis over the price paid in the deal.

First Security Group, headed by directors Jonathan Levine, Roger Farrow and David Mundell, bought out the Orbis division that provides security guards to companies within London's M25 orbital road. The deal was funded by 3i and completed last April. However, the complicated calculation as to what the MBO team should pay has produced a dispute.

The calculation was based on the acquired business's net asset value (NAV). The MBO team said it should have been pounds 1,281,000 for the purposes of the calculation. Orbis says the NAV should be taken as pounds 3.6m and the MBO team should pay correspondingly more for the business.

A RECORD COMPANY owned by Rutland Trust, the corporate finance and investment group, is being sued by another independent UK record company over the copyright to an album by The Stray Cats recorded several years ago, entitled Choo Choo Hot Fish.

Castle Music, based in Chessington, Surrey, bought the original rights to the album from the Stray Cats' own company, Pyramid Records of Florida, USA. That contract expired, and in April 1997 another British company, Eagle Rock, bought the rights to the album from Pyramid, according to Eagle.

Eagle Rock now claims that Castle then sold its rights to the album to a third party, a firm called Snapper Plc, when in fact these rights had expired. Eagle claims that Castle, bought by Rutland Trust last year, "threatens and intends to repeat the wrongful acts complained of" unless the court intervenes.