By the final judgement n. 4897 issued on April 17th, 2015, the Court of Milan has condemned Abramo Allione Edizioni Musicali S.r.l., together with Universal Music Italia S.r.l., Mr. Gilbert Montagné and Mr. Didier Barbelivien, to pay the damages deriving from the plagiarism of the musical work “Une fille de France”.
The case at hand concerned the examination of the works “On va s’aimer”, edited by Abramo Allione Edizioni Musicali S.r.l., and “Une fille de France”, created by Mr. M. Cywie and Mr. D. Barbelivien, due to verify the plagiarism or not of the latter work and, consequently, the originality or not of the other song. The dispute ended with the partial sentence no. 10096, issued on August 6th, 2008, by the Court of Milan, which declared the plagiarism of the work “Une fille de France”. The decision was confirmed by the Court of Appeal (decision n. 2429/2010) and then by the Italian Court of Cassation (decision n. 9854/2012).
In particular, the Court of Milan, with the first decision, declared the plagiarism of the refrain of “On va s’aimer”, notwithstanding the outcome of the technical expert opinion, on the grounds of the following facts: (i) the two refrains had the same sequence of notes, with the same melody; (ii) the different rhythm of the two refrains was not sufficient to provide creativity to the song “On va s’aimer”.
Therefore, the above-mentioned decision gave attention only to the quantification of the material and non-material damages, pursuant to art. 158 of the Italian Copyright Law, in favour of the plaintiffs, without considering any other element to the contrary.
In particular, on one hand, the material damage was liquidated through a technical expert advice, referred to the incomes gained by the infringers and, therefore, to all the rights of public performance and phonomechanical reproduction collected by the authors, editors and sub-editors, as well as to the remuneration collected for synchronization and licenses. Furthermore, even if the defendands requested the deduction of costs from the incomes gained, the Court resolved to not subtract the mentioned costs for lack of an appropriate proof thereof
On the other hand, the non-material damage has been recognized to the authors of the song “Une fille de France” and it has been calculated in consideration of the extended territory of the exploitation of the work and of the extended period of time (ten years) in which the plagiarism was carried out. In fact, because of this long period, the public has been persuaded that the infringer was the real author of the song.