Megan Washington Wins Settlement With Qantas

Megan Washington has landed a "significant sum" from Australia’s Qantas after she argued the airline had used one of her performances without permission.

The singer-songwriter had performed the carrier’s theme song “I Still Call Australia Home” during its 90th birthday celebrations in 2010, the same year she won the ARIA Award for female artist of the year.

The airline, however, went on to use a recording of that performance across its online promotions and for in-flight entertainment. So Washington sued. Although there had been no dispute about the recording of the song (originally a hit for Peter Allen in 1980), the singer and her reps argued its use was not authorized and that its use had been a breach of her initial agreement.

The case last week came to the Federal Circuit Court, and a settlement was reached for an undisclosed amount. Washington is said to have emerged with a ''significant sum,” having made a claim last year for Australian $500,000 ($469,000).

In a statement, Qantas said it had ''never accepted'' that it misused the work. ''Qantas settled to put an end to the dispute, where the legal costs far outweighed the value of the claim,'' a spokeswoman told reporters.

Earlier, Qantas agreed it should pay Washington's court costs though it disputed the way in which those costs should be calculated. Last week, the court found in Qantas' favor and ordered Washington to pay the national carrier's costs for the second round of litigation.

The Qantas result caps a frenetic period of non-music related activity for Washington. The Papua New Guinea born, Sydney-based artist recently switched management from Hub Artist Services for Michael Chugg’s Chugg Music. And she featured in an episode of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Australian Story,” in which she discussed her long-time battle with a debilitating stutter. She revealed her secret problem in a TedX presentation, titled "The Thing Is, I Stutter".

Washington’s career took off in 2010 when her debut multi-platinum album "I Believe You Liar" entered the Australian albums chart at No. 3. That year, she was nominated for seven ARIAs, winning for best female artist and breakthrough Australian artist. The following year, she won the APRA Award for breakthrough songwriter for "I Believe You Liar". 

Earlier in 2014, Washington shared “Who Are You,” her first studio recording in more than two years. Another new single, “Limitless,” was dropped in May. The songs are expected to appear on her new album, due out this September via Universal Music. Washington recorded the set last year in London with Australian producer Samuel Dixon (Sia, Adele) and Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint) on drums. She has a worldwide exclusive songwriter agreement with Alberts.

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