Masquerade Music Ltd v Springsteen
This case concerned allegations of copyright infringement in musical “outtakes” of early Bruce Springsteen, the celebrated American singer/writer. The defendants had imported copies of these outtakes and relied upon the fact that (1) the managers of Springsteen when the outtakes were done owned the copyright (2) Springsteen could not provide copyright in the songs. In the end, the case came down to whether the failure to adduce an assignment of copyright document was fatal to Springsteen’s case where there was no evidence of adequate search.
The Court of Appeal considered carefully the doctrine of “secondary evidence” which generally required a party to adduce evidence that it had searched for the document in a reasonable manner before evidence that it had existed could be admissible. The Court of Appeal decided that the doctrine was outmoded and should no longer have any part to play in English evidential law.