Daryl Somers launches legal action against Channel 7 for breach of copyright

Daryl Somers is suing Channel 7 just weeks after he was dumped as host of Dancing With The Stars.

According to the Herald Sun, the TV legend is suing the network for breach of copyright for using unapproved archival footage of John Farnham singing on Hey Hey It’s Saturday in the ‘90s.

Somers’ company, Somers Enterprises Australia (SEA) – directed by both the 72-year-old and his wife, Julie – has held the copyright to the beloved Australian variety television program since 2010.

On October 18, SEA filed legal action in the Federal Court against the Seven Network claiming it breached copyright by using footage of Farnham performing My Yiddeshe Mama with Tom Jones from a Hey Hey It’s Saturday episode without permission.

The footage was used by Seven in a Spotlight special titled John Farnham: The Lost Tapes, which aired this year in August and was available on the network’s streaming platform, 7Plus.

Herald Sun reports that Seven denied it breached copyright laws. However, following the complaint, the episode has been removed from its online platforms.

In court documents obtained by the outlet, SEA claimed that Seven had every opportunity to ask for permission to use the footage, given the network had approached Somers to be interviewed for the program.

“Prior to airing the broadcast of the Seven Program, a representative of (Seven) contacted SEA (Somers Enterprises Australia) to ask whether Mr Somers was willing to be interviewed for the program; (Seven) had the opportunity to seek a licence for the use of the Copyright Works, but did not do so,” the document states.

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Somers’ company claims it suffered loss by Seven’s unauthorised use of the footage and “damage to SEA’s commercial reputation by broadcasting and streaming inferior quality footage of the performance”.

The company claims it also missed on profits “as people who would have paid to subscribe to heyhey.tv in order to watch the performance … will not do so because they viewed the performance for free on the Seven program”.

The lawsuit comes weeks after Somers was replaced as host of the Seven program Dancing With The Stars in favour of network newcomer, Dr Chris Brown.

Before a formal announcement was made by Seven, Somers jumped the gun and released his own statement about the hosting shake-up.

“Just want to confirm the speculation that I will not be hosting Dancing With The Stars in 2024,” he began in a statement, released via the Hey, Hey It’s Saturday Facebook page on October 15.

“Seven let me know recently that they have signed Chris Brown to the network full-time and among his commitments he will be hosting DWTS.

“I realise how fortunate I have been to have had such a long and wonderful run with the program. Over a twenty year span, starting in 2004, I have completed ten series, the last one being a huge ratings success.”

Somers said he was “happy to hand the Mirror Ball over to Chris” and wished him every success.

Seven poached Brown from its rival Channel 10 in February, and it’s believed he was signed for a two-year contract believed to be worth more than $1 million a year.

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In June, Seven announced Brown would host two new shows for the network set to air in 2024.

The first, an as-yet-untitled new adventure series, will see Brown take in some of the “most mind-blowing scenery on the planet, all in the pursuit of the ultimate animal encounter”.

Brown will also front Dream Home, which is billed as an “inspiring” new renovation competition where “the great Australian dream is transformed into the great Australian dream home.”