Illegal merchandise extorts money meant for NHS charities

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Illegal Skerryvore merchandise being sold on an unofficial website has extorted money that should have gone to support NHS workers, says the band.

Founding member Martin Gillespie told The Oban Times that the merchandise until recently for sale on an unofficial goods website ‘blatantly infringed our copyright, using our album covers and poster designs to sell products and profiteer’.

The website in question has now removed all the items ‘thankfully’ said Martin.

According to that website, it says on its Q&A page that it is policy to remove ‘allegedly infringing work in response to legally valid complaints’.

Skerryvore’s Everyday Heroes charity single went to No 1 in the iTunes charts within hours of being released earlier this year. All proceeds from it went towards the NHS Charities Covid-19 Urgent Appeal.

The streaming figures have not come through yet but the band estimate they have raised around £3,000 from streams and downloads and £500 from t-shirts, plus funds people generously donated to the charities directly off the back of the single.

Skerryvore has now appealed to fans not to purchase merchandise from any third-party stores and instead make sure it is bought from their own official website or social media channels, or via authorised music download and streaming sites.

Martin  said: ‘We were really sad to see illegal Skerryvore merchandise being sold on an unofficial website. The merchandise blatantly infringed our copyright, using our album covers and poster designs to sell products and profiteer.

‘During the current situation, when selling merchandise is one of the few ways that musicians can generate income, this discovery was extremely disheartening. One of the saddest things about this is that many of the items exploit the success of our Everyday Heroes charity single in an attempt to extort money which would otherwise be going to charity if the merchandise was official.’

Mànran merchandise was also being sold on the same unofficial website. Gary Innes from Mànran said: ‘We were really disappointed to see that our merchandise was being made and sold from a third-party vendor. At any time this would be unacceptable but at a time when, alongside our fellow musicians, all of our touring and performing work has disappeared, it’s an added kick below the belt. We as a band rely on merchandise sales to help keep us afloat and maintain some kind of revenue so to have someone else profiting from the band’s name and image during this time is very disheartening.’