Personal liability of directors explored

November 2012

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The IPKat was excited to find a judgment relating to copyright infringement from the Outer House of the Court of Session on the Scottish Courts. Although Naxos Rights International Ltd v Project Management (Borders) Ltd & Salmon [2012] CSOH 158 goes no way towards developing the substantive law relating to copyright ownership and infringement, Lord Glennie provided a helpful reminder of when a director will be found personally and jointly liable for the damage caused by an infringing company – here the second defendant, Keith Joseph Salmon, a director of the first defendant company, was found personally liable for infringement.

Project Management operated a website called, offering licences to use the music in various contexts for a nominal one-off fee and Project Management said it owned the sound recording rights in the music it provides. Another classical music distributor called Naxos claimed that the versions of Christmas carol ‘Joy To The World’ and Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ that the site provided were recordings it owned. Salmon, owner of Project Management, disputed that claim, but, based on expert evidence presented in court, Lord Glennie sided with the claimants. He ruled that the version of ‘Joy To The World’ and at least part of the ‘Four Seasons’ suite on Salmon’s site were indeed the recordings owned by Naxos, adding that it seemed likely the recordings had been tweaked to disguise that fact, something that damaged Salmon’s credibility.

Project Management will now have to remove said recordings from its site and share information of any sales of those tracks to date, to enable Naxos to prepare a bid for damages.

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