LONDON (Reuters) - Two former members of Busted who were kicked out of the boy band before it became famous have lost a 10 million pound court battle for royalties on hits they said they helped write and now face huge legal bills instead.
Ki McPhail and Owen Doyle had claimed they were removed from the band when manager Richard Rashman took over in March 2001, and had been forced by threats to give up their rights to a number of songs and never received payment for them.
They claimed they were told they would never work in the music industry again, and that legal action against them could cost McPhail’s parents their home.
The pair told London’s High Court that they helped to pen the songs “Year 3000”, “Sleeping with the Light On”, “Psycho Girl” and “What I Go to School For” with former bandmates James Bourne and Matt Willis.
The four were together from January until October 2001, originally in a band called The Termites, but changed their name to Busted after they signed with a professional management company.
Busted recruited Charlie Simpson as a new member before signing with Universal Records in March 2002.
High Court judge Mr Justice Morgan threw out the duo’s claims on Friday, saying both had come across as unreliable witnesses.
He ruled there had been no threats or improper pressure put on them to sign an agreement which stated they had no rights to the songs.
“He quite plainly exaggerated and distorted the real events,” he said of McPhail, and commenting on Doyle he added: “Owen was not a reliable witness either. He manifested a high degree of confusion and a failure to grasp the detail in relation to many of the significant events.”
After the verdict, Bourne and Willis called the case “an opportunistic attempt by Doyle and McPhail to cash in on our success”.
“Their claims were a complete fabrication and we are delighted that the judge has seen through this and totally dismissed them,” their statement said.
The court defeat leaves Doyle and McPhail staring at a legal costs bill estimated at 1.7 million pounds.
Reporting by Michael Holden