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Court orders KLAS to disclose latest fin statements in copyright case

Published:Thursday | August 12, 2021 | 12:11 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter

KLAS Sports radio has been ordered by the Supreme Court to disclose, before September 24, copies of its audited financial statements for 2015-2020 to the Jamaica Association of Authors, Composers and Publishers Association (JACAP), which has secured a default judgment against the media company in a copyright infringement lawsuit.

JACAP sued the media company in 2014 to recover damages for infringement of copyright of the musical works for September 1, 2009, to date.

But KLAS did not file a defence in the stipulated time, which led to a default judgment being made in favour of JACAP and the matter proceeded to a hearing for damages, held last October and in July of this year.

When the matter commenced, JACAP’s attorney-at-law, Chad Lawrence, during an application for an order for specific disclosure of the audited financial statements, noted that the documents had been requested long before the hearing date and that the statements are directly relevant to the matters that are in issue in the proceedings and are also necessary in order to dispose fairly of the claim.

The statements for the period 2010-2015 had been disclosed.

But KLAS, in its response, argued that the order for specific disclosure was improper and also that the order provides JACAP with a “second bite at the cherry” and that such an order in the absence of a notice of application for court orders and a supporting affidavit denies KLAS of “the useful defence on assessment of damages to limit the quantum [of damages] it may be liable to pay”.

Those arguments were, however, not accepted by the court, which agreed with JACAP’s submission that the audited financial statements will assist in its assessment of the quantum of damages to be paid by KLAS for its copyright infringement for the period 2015-2020.

The court was also of the view that the order for specific disclosure “is necessary in order to dispose of the claim fairly and in order to save costs”.

The court in its deliberation, however, conceded that there were some inconsistencies in respect of the period for which JACAP was seeking an inquiry as to the damages payable as the period stated in the pleadings was “2009 to date”, meaning up to 2014, yet JACAP, in subsequent submissions, had suggested that its claim for damages was confined to the periods 2010-2015 and 2015-2020.

But the court, while noting that the inconsistencies were unfortunate, pointed out that the pleadings filed was years before the hearing commenced and that KLAS would have had ample time to understand the parameters of the claim and cannot say it did not have sufficient time to properly prepare for the case.

Consequently, the court, in granting the order last month for statements to be disclosed by September 24, also ruled that JACAP is at liberty to file a further and or additional witness statement in respect of the audited financial statement for 2015-2020 on or before November 5.

The court similarly ruled that KLAS is at liberty to file and serve further and or additional witness statements in respect of its audited financial statements for 2015-2020 on or before November 5.

The court also ruled that KLAS is denied leave to appeal and that a new date for the resumption of the assessment for damages is to be fixed by the registrar.

JACAP is a non-profit membership organisation, which collects licence fees from copyright music users and distributes the money as royalties to the music creators.

Attorneys-at-law Jody-Ann Gaff and Neco Pagon represented KLAS.

tanesha.mundle@gleanerjm.com