Rickless v United Artists Corporation: CA 1988

References: [1988] QB 40, [1987] 1 All ER 679, [1987] 2 WLR 945
Coram: Hobhouse J, Sir Nicolas Browne-Wilkinson V-C, Bingham LJ
Ratio: The Act created a private right to performers. Although it might appear to provide criminal sanctions only, performers had the right to give or withhold consent to the use of their performances and to enforce that right by action in the civil courts. This statutory right was not purely personal, but survived the death of the performer and vested in his or her personal representatives, so that in the absence of consent of a performer or his or her personal representatives, there was an actionable breach. A feature film (Trail of the Pink Panther – ‘Trail’) starring the late Peter Sellers had been made by use of cutting floor clips from previous films made with his consent. In two films, The Pink Panther Strikes Again and Revenge of the Pink Panther his consent extended to the use in this way of the cutting floor clips, and ordered the producer companies to account for percentages of the gross receipts of Trail as sums derived from Strikes and Revenge. In the case of three films where there had been no consent, damages were awarded for breach, or inducing breach, of contract in the sum of $1,000,000.
Sir Nicolas Browne-Wilkinson V-C observed that, while not decisive, it was generally easier to spell out civil liability where Parliament had expressly stated that an act was unlawful rather than merely classifying it as a criminal offence.
Statutes: Dramatic and Musical Performers Protection Act 1958 1
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Experience Hendrix LLC v PPX Enterprises Inc and Another CA (Bailii, [2003] EWCA Civ 323, Times 19-Apr-03, Gazette 05-Jun-03, [2003] 1 All ER (Comm) 830)
    The claimant had obtained an interim injunction against the defendant for copyright infringement, though it could show no losses. It now sought additionally damages. The defendant argued that it could not have both.
    Held: The case arose form . .

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Jurisdiction: England and Wales

Last Update: 13-Jul-18
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