Experience Hendrix LLC v PPX Enterprises Inc [2003]

Experience Hendrix LLC v PPX Enterprises Inc [2003] EWCA Civ 323 is a notable English contract law case concerning the availability of restitution damages for breach of contract.

The case involves a settlement agreement between Experience Hendrix LLC, the successor in title to Jimi Hendrix's estate, and PPX Enterprises, his music publishers. The agreement granted PPX the rights to certain masters of Jimi Hendrix's recordings listed in Schedule A, with the condition that PPX pays royalties to Experience Hendrix. However, PPX breached the agreement by granting licenses to masters not included in Schedule A.

The Court of Appeal found that it would be unjust if PPX could breach the settlement and avoid paying royalties, which they would have had to pay if the songs were part of Schedule A. However, the court also determined that the case was not exceptional enough to warrant an account for all profits.

Justice Mance suggested that PPX should pay a reasonable sum for using the material, reflecting such sum as might reasonably have been demanded by the estate as compensation for permitting the licenses that PPX entered into in breach of the settlement agreement. This approach took into account the commercial value of the right infringed, and the court could assess the sum payable by considering fees that might be demanded and paid between willing parties in similar contexts.

In summary, the case highlights the court's consideration of restitution damages in breach of contract cases, emphasising the need for a reasonable sum to compensate for the breach while avoiding an account for all profits in circumstances that were not deemed exceptional.
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