Riverdance name not to be used for shows, Russia tribute show unaffiliated

A Kerry music producer has told the High Court he will not use the name of Riverdance or Riverdance Tribute Show in promotions planned for Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania in October and November.

Michael Carr

Counsel for Michael Carr and his company, Ceol Chiarraí Teoranta, also undertook not to use Riverdance names or trademarks in any business letter headings, websites, or advertising material promoting Irish dance and music shows in the countries concerned.

Barrister Brian Kennelly told the court that Moya Doherty and John McColgan’s Riverdance Ltd and Abhann Productions Ltd were willing to accept the defendants’ consent to a court order granting the restraining injunctions.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott had been asked for injunctions restraining the staging of “illicit, unauthorised” Riverdance shows by Mr Carr, his company, or agents, on his behalf. He had been told the trademark name Riverdance had been used without licence or authority in the promotion of Riverdance Tribute Shows in cities throughout Russia and the Baltic countries concerned.

Mr Kennelly told the court that Mr Carr, of Balconrey, Co Kerry, and his Ballybunion-based company, had used copyright pictures and images copied directly from the official Riverdance website.

He said his clients had been tipped off about the proposed tribute shows when a Russian fanbase had contacted the Riverdance company in Dublin stating how much they were looking forward to the Riverdance Tribute Shows which the official companies knew nothing about.

Mr Kennelly said Mr Carr was now suggesting to the court that he had blundered into the situation and was an innocent abroad.

“He knew exactly what he was doing and he copied from the official Riverdance website for his own website, www.riverdancetribute.com which he admitted he owned,” Mr Kennelly said.

“It is not credible to say this was a terrible misunderstanding. He took a gamble and he was found out and is now consenting to the injunctions being sought against him.”

Paul Anthony McDermott, for Mr Carr and his company, said whether he had taken a chance or had lost or not lost his case would be determined at the full trial of all matters, including his right to use the title Riverdance Tribute Show.

He felt the remarks by Mr Kennelly about taking a gamble and having been found out were inappropriate.

The court heard that in a letter to agents in Russia, Mr Carr had stated he had to withdraw from the Riverdance Tribute Show in Russia and any Baltic state. He stated that the Russian agents involved had compromised him and his company by use of the name and trademarks.

Mr Carr stated in the letter he was aware the agents had incurred expenses in promoting the tribute show and he was willing to allow them produce a show called “The Irish Dance Show”.

Mr Kennelly said contracts for all of the shows involved in the “fake” productions had been agreed and signed in Ireland.

Judge McDermott made the restraining orders pending a full trial of the issues involved and reserved legal costs to the trial judge.

During the High Court application, Judge McDermott was told that Abhann Productions Ltd was in a “robust” situation and able to meet its undertaking as to damages should Mr Carr ultimately win his case. Riverdance Ltd was an intellectual property holding company and as such had not returned a property.

He was told that to the year ended Jun 30, 2010, and Jun 30, 2011, the company had turnovers of €28m and €13m respectively, and profits of €1.3m and €5.9m respectively.

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