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Supreme Court rules against Tony Rebel in copyright suit

BY PAUL HENRY Co-ordinator — Crime/Court Desk henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, March 05, 2014    

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AWARD-winning reggae artiste Tony Rebel yesterday failed to have the Supreme Court throw out a multimillion-dollar copyright suit brought against him by music composer Jah Wayne.

The application was made by veteran attorney Garth McBean before Justice Kirk Anderson, a day after Jah Wayne testified under cross-examination that he hadn't read his witness statement before signing to it.

During the application, McBean asked Anderson to strike out the case, submitting that the admission was in breach of the Civil Procedure Rules and that it is tantamount to deceiving the court.

At the same time, the attorney submitted that if the court wasn't mindful to strike out the matter an alternative would be to strike out the evidence given by the witness, up to this point, and bar him from giving further evidence in the matter.

But relying on the case Bryan vs Harris, attorney Catherine Minto — counsel for Jah Wayne — countered that the statement should be read to the witness in court and make him certify as true the parts of the statements he agrees with.

In the end, Anderson sided with Jah Wayne and the exercise was done as requested by Minto. At the same time, Anderson awarded costs against Jah Wayne for the exercise, noting that it was his fault why the court had to embark upon the procedure.

Jah Wayne, whose real name is Wayne Lattibeaudiere, is suing Tony Rebel and his company Flame Production Incorporation Limited for breach of copyright in relation to the composition of the rhythm Going Home that was released by Tony Rebel under the title La La Bella. One of the songs recorded on the rhythm is Ghetto People Song performed by Tony Rebel, whose real name is Patrick Anthony Barrett. He's also suing for rights for the African rhythm.

He's contending that he composed the rhythm in 1992 and that Tony Rebel caused it to be published without crediting him. He's asking the court to rule that he is the composer and owner. He said Tony Rebel promised him that he would be credited as composer of the rhythm, but said that the artiste started claiming to be the composer.

He said he's been deprived of royalties.

Yesterday, cross-examination of Jah Wayne was scheduled to continue but was postponed until tomorrow to facilitate another witness who complained about having a difficulty coming to court.

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