Who's Suing Whom: Music sample strikes a note of contention

MANFRED MANN (real name Manfred Lubowitz), the popular musician and songwriter who found fame and fortune with his eponymous band in the 1960s, is suing the extremely trendy group Massive Attack for alleged plagiarism.

Mr Mann says that in 1971 he composed a song called "Tribute", which he then recorded with Manfred Mann's Earth Band.

Then in May this year Virgin issued an album by Massive Attack, Mezzanine, which carried a track entitled "Black Milk".

Mr Mann says this track is about 128 bars long. His writ claims: "In 100 out of these approximately 128 bars there was incorporated by the Group (Massive Attack), in an identical or in a substantially identical form, a repeated two-bar extract taken from the recording by a process known as digital sampling."

Mr Mann is seeking an injunction to stop further sales of the album, plus damages and costs.

GRANADA and London Weekend Television (LWT) have fallen out with WEA International and Warner Music International Services over two recent films, Coronation Street: Viva Las Vegas and a compilation, Blind Date: Greatest Hits and Unseen Bits.

The two British TV companies made a deal to allow WEA and Warner to distribute videos of the films. Granada and LWT now claim they have received only pounds 600,000 in advances from the US companies, several hundred thousand pounds less than they are due under the deal. They now want an injunction to stop WEA and Warner from copying and distributing the films.

COCA-COLA and Schweppes went to court last week to force British Telecommunications (BT) to divulge the name and address of a person subscribing to a BT mobile telephone number, a person they suspect of infringing their trademarks.

Under the Data Protection Act, in certain circumstances a service provider, such as BT, can be forced by the courts to divulge the identity of a subscriber to a third party, overriding their rights to client confidentiality.

Last Tuesday the court supported the application, and BT handed over the name and address to the drinks companies, which is continuing its investigations. The name of the person concerned remains confidential.

THE USE of "Chinese walls" by accountants, lawyers, investment banks and other professional firms will have to be re-examined following a landmark ruling in favour of Prince Jefri of Brunei in his case against KPMG.

Prince Jefri, younger brother of the Sultan of Brunei, hired KPMG in 1997 to review his own finances. This year the Brunei Investment Authority (BIA) launched an investigation into the Sultanate's finances, and especially Prince Jefri's affairs.

When the BIA hired KPMG to carry out the review, Prince Jefri applied in the UK courts to stop them, saying their Chinese walls would fail to stop confidential information about him leaking to the BIA.

The law lords found in favour of Prince Jefri, and on Friday published the reasons for their ruling. They criticised KPMG's "ad hoc" construction of a Chinese wall, and laid down ground rules for professional firms to follow in future.

The law lords were particularly worried that the KPMG people working for the Prince who then worked for the BIA came from within the same department. In future, Chinese walls should be used to separate different departments, and these departments should, where possible, be housed in different locations. This should extend to different dining arrangements, according to Lord Millett, who wrote the judgment.

According to one of Prince Jefri's solicitors, Jeremy Cole, a partner with Lovell White Durrant, the judgment will affect "everyone working in the City".

Comments