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Richard Branson Took One For Liberty

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Kevin Sutherland poses with Lemar after his tale of legal victory over V2 and Richard Branson. for the band name - 'Liberty'.
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Lemar
Special Guest: Kevin Sutherland

Intro.

I hadnt seen Kevin in ages! We spoke for 3 and  a half hours about family, the year so far, parents, kids, it was great. He went in depth on a story he’d only touched upon in the past. One about how he took on a record label in a legal battle. Not an easy feat when the label belongs to a super savvy business mogul. Richard Branson.

Let the trial begin.

I remember, when it came to the day for the start of the trial. I was walking up to the high court with my band members. It was just mayhem out there. With all of the news teams and reporters. And I said, “Oh gosh, why did we have to get a day when there was another big hearing going on?”

 So My band members and I walked across, the zebra crossing and when we got to the other side, all we heard was, “There they are!” Whoa, not for one minute did we think that they were there for our case agains Richard Branson and V2.

The camera’s were like, “So how do you feel about what’s going on today? Are you looking for a successful outcome?” And it’s just like, how do you answer this? Because… well… you don’t want to tempt fate.

 

This is an image of the Hight Court where the case of Kevin Sutherland versus Richard Branson's, 'V2 Music' took place.
Royal Courts of Justice, London – Author: sjiong

4 days to deliberate.

So we, went in and we had our first day hearing. I can’t remember how many days in total, but after all of the case had been heard, the judge compiled everything that he needed to hear. The judge took four days, he said, he’s going to deliberate.

By then the court bundles had accumulated a lot more. So he took the four days to deliberate, after which we were going to all come back for his verdict. And while I’m in the court, I’m sitting there thinking what on earth is going on because all of this legalese talk and jargon, it kind of goes over your head a bit, unless you’re well versed in certain subject matters. 

I remember after about the first hour or so, I saw my phone went off. This friend of mine in Cyprus said, “Kev, I cant believe it, you’ve done it!” and I’m like ‘huh?’ So I now keep glimpsing at my phone, ‘buzz’ – my phone bleeps again, it’s enough a friend in Tenerife. “Well done Kev, congratulations!”

My phone keeps buzzing! All these people congratulated me from the outside.

Kevin Sutherland poses with Lemar after his tale of legal victory over V2 and Richard Branson. for the band name - 'Liberty'.
Kevin Sutherland - “That's why the small man never litigates against, you know, the big corporations”.

It was only afterwards, I realised that the BBC Reuters news team that were sitting in on the hearing, they’re used to hearing the summing up of these kinds of cases. And they were hearing certain key words and certain phrases, which told them that we’d done enough to win this case. They were going out reporting to the outside world and it was popping up on internet screens! 

The first one, a friend of mine from Cyprus, she actually worked for a news station in Cyprus. So she got it first. It was coming up, ‘Liberty wins victory! Richard Branson loses’. You know, it was popping up on screens in real time, but we did not know we had done enough to win.

A new precedent.

The judge looked over his glasses at me and said, “You do realise Mr Sutherland, that this ruling today will be around a lot longer than you are”. I didn’t really read into the, the weight of what he was actually saying.

He was basically making a statement. This case, it set a new precedent in intellectual property law, and will now be studied by people in that field – ‘Sutherland & Others Versus V2 Music‘.

The rest of the band were there that day. And I remember afterwards we had to give our interviews on the steps of The High Court. I actually didn’t hear what Richard Branson had said, but I listened to what he said, I think, on the evening news that night.

It was just very interesting to reach that point. A sigh of relief.

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