A legal dispute has taken off between high-flying, ARIA-award winning singer/songwriter Megan Washington and Australia’s biggest airline, Qantas.

appeared at a Qantas function celebrating the airline’s 90th birthday
in 2010, singing “I Still Call Australia Home”. A clip of the one-off performance was
subsequently featured on the company’s Youtube channel, their website,
and on in-flight entertainment for up to a year. The “I Believe You Liar” singer alleges that Qantas’ use of the clip was unauthorised, and misled the public into believing the airline had her approval and support. The singer has launched legal action seeking is as-yet unspecified damages, but we can safely assume they will include a lifetime supply of tiny packets of peanuts.

At a preliminary hearing held last week, Federal Circuit Court Judge Nick Nicholls agreed Qantas should hand over documents to Washington
relating to silverchair‘s Daniel Johns (who last year composed and recorded a song, “Atlas“, to promote the airline), as well as information on the amount it pays
to use other artists’ music on its YouTube channel, information she’ll use to work out the royalties Qantas could have to cough up. They were not granted access to contracts between the airline and other high profile ambassadors such as Formula 1 drivers Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo, Olympian Cathy Freeman, model Miranda Kerr, and basketballer Andrew Bogut.

Conversely, Washington was required to hand over copies of her agreements with some sponsors, as well as record contracts. She was not required to supply details of her dealings with rival airline Virgin, for whom she had recently headlined an advertising campaign. Qantas wanted to get their hands on these documents on the grounds that their use of the song gave Washington
exposure, and helped her negotiate a better sponsorship deal.

Washington will be attending a mediation hearing on Monday, and she expects the verdict to be “Plane and simple” .

(Washington definitely didn’t say “Plane and simple”)


Via news.com.au, Photo by Mark Metcalfe for Getty Images Entertainment