Singer Tommy Fleming sues TV company for 'damaging his career' by airing his DVD without permission

Singer Tommy Fleming sues TV company for 'damaging his career' by airing his DVD without permission

Singer Tommy Fleming has told the High Court his career suffered after a television company broadcast his bestselling DVD Voice of Hope allegedly without his permission.

Mr Fleming has brought proceedings seeking damages for alleged breach of copyright against Telifis Mhaigh Eo Teoranta, trading as "Irish TV", which went into liquidation last December.

The company, which operated from Westport Industrial Park in Co Mayo broadcasting a 24-hour channel on Sky, Eir and free-to-air services, did not contest the application.

The case arose after the TV station broadcast a promotional DVD sent out by the singer in relation to his 2004 recording "Voice of Hope" under the title the "Tommy Fleming Musical Extravaganza".

The broadcasts occurred in December 2014. The court heard that the station had in correspondence before its liquidation said it believed it had permission to broadcast the show.

In his evidence Mr Fleming said his career had been damaged by the broadcast.

In reply to his counsel Ms Helen Helen Johnson Bl, the singer said the station never had his permission to broadcast the Voice of Hope.

He said he learned about the broadcast from a friend. He said he would never have used the term Extravaganza in relation to his work. That word he said meant "circus."

While Mr Fleming accepted that he, his wife and their company may not get much out of any damages award against a firm in liquidation he said he had to proceed with his action because the case centred around what was their work.

The singer's manager and wife Tina Mitchel Fleming told the court the singer has had to spend a lot more money on promotions and advertising since the the broadcast.

There had also been a drop in sales of the 'Voice of Hope' which she said had cost them €250,000. It would cost the same to do a new show.

She said that the damage occurred because the Voice of Hope had been broadcast on a small channel with low ratings. This had damaged his ability to get onto TV programmes on major broadcasters.

Ratings were very important in the industry, she said adding that before the Irish TV broadcast they had been in talks with SkyArts, but after the broadcast's those talks had ended.

Since the broadcast Tommy had only made one appearance on RTE's the Late Late Show, whereas beforehand he had appeared on the national broadcaster on average twice a year.

She added because Irish TV had connections with US broadcaster PBS her husband had to pay that channel if they wanted to get his material on its channels. That had never been the case beforehand.

She said after the broadcast the singer, had for the first time in his career, made a loss when he toured North America.

Last December, the Flemings and their company TF Productions Ltd obtained an injunction against Teilifís Mhaigh Eo.

The injunction restrained Irish TV from passing off the "Voice of Hope" DVD under the title "Tommy Fleming Musical Extravaganza" of by any similar trademark.

It further restrained Irish TV from making the DVD available to the pubic without authorisation or broadcasting it in breach of Mr Fleming's copyright.

In their application the Flemings seek to make the injunction a permanent one.

The matter came before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan, who following the conclusion of submissions said he would give his decision in a few days time.


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