April 4, 2008

Co-Author's Face Now A Whiter Shade of Pale?

The founder of Procol Harum won his court battle over royalty rights to the band's most famous hit, the 1967 song "A Whiter Shade of Pale."

A British appellate court ruled [decision] that although former keyboard player Matthew Fisher could be credited as co-author of the work (for writing the organ part), the fact that it took him 38 years to take the case to court meant he should not benefit financially. "Matthew Fisher is guilty of excessive and inexcusable delay in his claim to assert joint title to a joint interest in the work," Judge Mummery said in his judgment. "He silently stood by and acquiesced in the defendant's commercial exploitation of the work for 38 years."

Laches? Estoppel?

[Billboard article.]

4/7/08 UPDATE

The New York Times reports:

Mr. Fisher can still appeal the “Whiter Shade of Pale” decision to the House of Lords, which serves as Britain’s supreme court ... Even without a further appeal, though, the case isn’t over yet: Still to be settled is who must pay whose legal bills, which are reported to have mounted well into the millions of pounds on each side

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