Soulfest Promoter, John Denison, has been ordered to pay APRA AMCOS $437,000 for copyright infringement as well as $70,000 in legal costs.
The court action represented a protracted case against the promoter with debts accumulated since 2014 from Soulfest, Supafest and other tours and events.
The embattled promoter has faced ongoing public and legal scrutiny for over a decade as detailed in our exposé following the collapse of Soulfest and Supafest. APRAC AMCOS confirmed to scenestr the order is against Denison personally and that it intends to pursue him for payment. As a personal judgement, any protection which a company structure may have afforded is unavailable to Mr Denison.
The statement noted "Mr Denison has said, on record, that he’s been sued for a long time and that he is an expert at this, so I was not surprised that the Judge found that the conduct of Mr Denison demonstrated an intentional disregard for the licensing requirements and the interests of the copyright owner, and demonstrated a level of dishonesty,” said Mr Richard Mallett.
“Judge Street made a number of important comments about the importance of APRA AMCOS, and that the evidence demonstrated that APRA AMCOS was willing to deal with this promoter even with all the difficulties he posed.
"He said that it is to APRA AMCOS’ credit that it made so many genuine attempts to license the events so that it could promote live music while still protecting its membership. And it was pleasing to note he also acknowledged APRA AMCOS’ essential role in promoting live music performances in Australia.
“We maintain APRA AMCOS’ members are among the most vulnerable service providers when it comes to promoters like this. Venues, caterers and artists are able to withhold their services - but songwriters’ work cannot be withheld ‘after the fact.’ Their only recourse is to trust in the courts and their membership to APRA AMCOS, to protect their rights.
Mr Denison was not in court for the judgement.