Costume and practice: new suits for Riverdance duo

Ireland's Sunday Business Post reports that Riverdance duo Moya Doherty and John McColgan are being sued by fashion designer Jen Kelly for using his designs without permission; Kelly is also reported to be seeking royalties on Riverdance's profits. The two are offering a vigorous and no doubt immaculately choreographed if ear-splitting defence to the claims when they appear live in the Irish High Court later this week. According to the news report,
"Kelly designed and made hundreds of outfits that were used in the Riverdance shows in the mid-1990s. After receiving initial design fees for the show costumes, Kelly claimed he was paid about €60 in royalties per performance until 2001.

Kelly has claimed Riverdance continued to use and modify his designs without licence or payment. McColgan and Doherty claimed an agreement was reached in November 1999 under which the designer accepted a substantial sum to finalise his involvement.

McColgan said there was never "any unauthorised exploitation of Kelly’s designs by Riverdance". He said Kelly’s designs had not been used since 2001".
The IPKat looks forward to learning more about the legal grounds of the claim. Merpel wonders if there is any country in the world in which, in the absence of a licence, the live performance by a person wearing a costume could infringe either the design right or the copyright in that item of clothing. Says Tufty, I bet the judge doesn't fall asleep in this trial ...

Riverdance in response to the Haka here
Dancing cats here and here
Costume and practice: new suits for Riverdance duo Costume and practice: new suits for Riverdance duo Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, November 03, 2009 Rating: 5


  1. It looks like an interesting pant suit.

    The pleadings would be fascinating indeed. The Court may well hem and haw about whether any cause of action is disclothed.

    Merpel would then be in stiches.

    If an injunction is granted, would they be forced to dance "au naturel"?

  2. Watch this closely, as Kelly is NOT, never was the original designer, and his lies will unfold next week in Dublin. This is a bigger story than you will ever imagine.


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