Rapper Dappa Dred loses copyright battle

 

A rapper called Dappa Dred today lost a copyright battle with film-makers when senior judges ruled that his case was not worth fighting.

Dred - who sued under the name Tony Sullivan and is also known as Rudey Soloman - claimed £800,000 damages after alleging that Bristol Film Studios breached his copyright when it uploaded a video of him performing on to internet site YouTube.

But a judge in the High Court threw out the claim after concluding that the most Dred could win was £150 - and the rapper today lost an appeal.

Three Court of Appeal judges said Deputy High Court Judge John Jarvis QC had been right in his assessment of the "likely scale of damages".

Appeal judges said Dred's failure also meant that he would have to foot the costs of the case - estimated at more than £9,000.

Lord Justice Lewison, who heard the appeal with Lord Justice Ward and Lord Justice Etherton, said Judge Jarvis had "struck out" Dred's claim at a hearing in Bristol in 2010.

"He did so, not because the claim was bound to fail, but because even if it were to succeed the costs of fighting it were out of all proportion to the amount that Mr Soloman was likely to recover," said Lord Justice Lewison, following an appeal hearing in London.

"The judge was right to approach the case on the basis that the recoverable damages were likely to be extremely modest, on the assumption that Mr Soloman established liability."

Lord Justice Etherton said Dred's case should have been heard in a lower court, such as a county court.

But he added: "Unfortunately ... Mr Soloman persisted in a grossly inflated value of his claims which ruled out those alternative routes."

Appeal judges said Dred had asked Bristol Film Studios (BFS) to make a video in which he appeared and offered the firm a share of sale profits. The firm shot a video in 2009 and uploaded it on to YouTube.

"He (Dred) did not like what he saw," said Lord Justice Lewison. "He ... complained that BFS had uploaded the video to YouTube without his consent, thereby infringing both his copyright and performance right and also infringing his moral right not to have his work subjected to degrading treatment."

BFS removed the video from YouTube five days later and deleted all copies from its system. The firm said the video had been uploaded with Dred's consent.

"Mr Soloman began proceedings in the High Court," said Lord Justice Lewison. "His claim form put the value of his claim at £800,000."

Lord Justice Lewison said Dred's case had first come before a "DJ" - legal shorthand for a District Judge - before being heard in the High Court by Judge Jarvis.

He said Dred's "causes of action" included copyright breach and "loss of chance".

The appeal judge added: "The nub of the complaint about loss of chance was that the video had damaged the marketing potential of the work and had, in some way, prevented him from making and selling more records and LPs."

Lord Justice Lewison said Dred had represented himself at the appeal hearing in April - BFS was represented by a barrister and solicitors.

"He (Dred) put an enormous amount of work into the presentation of the appeal for which we were all grateful," said the appeal judge. "He put his points fluently and clearly."

Appeal judges said Judge Jarvis had concluded that - apart from BFS staff - no more than 50 people had seen the YouTube video, he was not satisfied that Dred had made "any real claim to loss of market potential" and assessed "maximum possible" damages at £150.

They said Judge Jarvis had been right to rule that a claim which had the "potential for the recovery of so little money" would be a "disproportionate use" of court resources.

Dred had complained of "bias in the way he was questioned by the judge" - but the appeal court said there had been no "procedural irregularity".

Lawyer Mark Lewis, a partner at IBB Solicitors, said later: "This follows a trend in defamation cases where the court has not allowed cases to proceed where the costs of the proceedings would be out all of proportion to the benefit the claimant might obtain.

"It shows that the courts are prepared to use their case management powers to save claimants from themselves and to ensure that the courts' limited resources are used as effectively as possible."

He added: "In order to make a realistic assessment of possible damages people should consult a solicitor."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea