Spandau face ruin after lost court case

 

THREE MEMBERS of the pop band Spandau Ballet failed in a High Court attempt yesterday to claim hundreds of thousands of pounds in royalties from the group's songwriter.

Ruling against Tony Hadley, the band's singer, the drummer John Keeble and the saxophone player Steve Norman, Mr Justice Park said he found it "unconscionable" for them to lay claim to large sums of money that they knew the band founder, Gary Kemp, had regarded as his own.

The three men told the court earlier this year they were entitled to a share of the songwriter's earnings from the publishing rights of hits, which include "True" and "Gold".

The court ruling means the three men, who have struggled financially since their former band colleagues Kemp and his brother Martin began acting careers, could face ruin with costs from the case totalling about pounds 1m. In a statement, their solicitors David Wineman said they would be going to the Court of Appeal.

 

The judge said it was an important and difficult case and he was aware his decision was a "heavy blow" to the plaintiffs.

The three said they had a verbal agreement since the band was named Spandau Ballet in 1980 that each would receive one-twelfth of all the song royalties. And, even if there was no agreement, their contribution to the recordings of the songs entitled them to a share of the publishing rights. But the judge said that although they had made "impressive" and "excellent" contributions, they did not alter the songs enough to make them joint authors.

After the ruling, Hadley said he was very disappointed: "Let this be a serious lesson to any up and coming artist or band. No matter how good mates you are or whether you were at school together, get a contract."

Gary Kemp said: "I see this as a victory on behalf of all songwriters."

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