UK law firm secures victory for Waves Audio24 March 2009
UK: The judgement concerning a defunct London studio marks a resolution to the "first contested case" in Waves’s anti-cracked software campaign, writes David Davies. In a long-running story originally broken by Pro Sound News Europe in August 2007 (read more here), Waves Audio has been seeking to uncover and collect payments from unauthorised users of its software.
Now, after a period in which the campaign had assumed a lower media profile, the High Court has issued a judgement against London-based The Mews Recording Studios. Formerly overseen by proprietor/engineer David Clarke, the studio shut its doors for the last time in October 2007, according to its website, which has remained online "for nostalgic reasons".
The Mews Recording Studios has no connection to, and should not be confused with the similarly-named but still very much active Mews Productions, which runs a fully-equipped recording studio in Walthamstow.
An injunction secured on behalf of Waves Audio by East Midlands law firm Nelsons prevents The Mews Recording Studios, its directors, officers, employees or agents and Clarke from using unlicensed Waves software. According to Nelsons, the High Court has also ordered that the studio and Clarke "permanently destroy any and all material which offends against the injunction, and further, that Waves is entitled to damages and costs."
The order was dated 18 December 2008 and was made by Master Bowles in the Chancery Division of the High Court.
"We are delighted with the judgement in this first contested case," said Stewart Vandermark (pictured), litigation partner and intellectual property specialist at Nelsons, in the press statement announcing the development. "It sends a clear message in the UK against the illegal use of Waves’ software, and places us in a strong position to continue with litigation against any and all copyright infringers in this country to seek the remedies Waves is entitled to by law."
Elaborating on the specifics of the Mews case to PSN-e, Vandermerk says that the injunction is against the studio and its director, David Clarke, "so it affects him in any capacity he trades in the future. Directors will face personal action where they are the guiding minds of the company (as well as the company) in accordance with standard practice in intellectual property cases."
With regard to costs and damages relating to the Mews action, Vandermark confirms that "an agreement has been made with David Clarke as he is personally liable, as a director and second defendant, for sums due." The expenses were subject to a separate and confidential agreement.
Looking forward, Vandermark reveals that all outstanding cases are being pursued and that proceedings will be issued on those cases that are not settled. "Studios that have not yet resolved matters are each being given a final opportunity to do so," he says.
Attempts to contact David Clarke for his side of the story had been unsuccessful at press time.
For more on the latest developments to counteract software piracy, look out for a major feature by Gez Kahan in the May issue of Pro Sound News Europe.