Test case for Glastonbury stage

The design industry could see a landmark legal case if a dispute over the design of a pyramid stage at this year’s Glastonbury Festival reaches court.

Stage design specialist Bill Harkin Associates claims that concepts it drew up for a pyramid stage in the 1990s have been used to create a new stage for this year’s festival.

“We believe our designs for the pyramid stage have been used without our agreement or proper payment,” says Bill Harkin Associates senior partner Bill Harkin. “We designed the first pyramid stage for Glastonbury in 1971 and were paid £2500 for further designs between 1994 and 1997 after a fire destroyed the second stage in 1994.”

But Glastonbury promoter and landowner Michael Eavis disputes Harkin’s claims, saying the new design by Foresite Services is “a totally different construction. We paid Bill Harkin £2500 for his drawings in 1994 but the design was much too expensive. The new design is nothing to do with the 1994 model at all.”

A member of Anti-Copying in Design, Harkin is now taking legal advice on the situation. “We want recognition and payment. The new pyramid stage is almost identical to our own design,” he says.

Harkin’s solicitor and Acid representative Simon Clark adds: “No court proceedings have yet been issued, as it relies on the response of Michael Eavis. It would be an interesting case though, and a test case to see whether a temporary structure is protected by copyright or just design right, as it is unclear under the copyright act.”

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