The Lede: Should Have Thought of That in 1967

6 Apr

In a Lede post from April 4, Patrick J. Lyons writes about a lawsuit over copyright control in the United Kingdom. The former organist for the British band Procol Harum, Matthew Fisher, is suing the lead singer, Gary Brooker, for royalties.

Over the last three decades, Brooker has been making millions in royalties from their hit song “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” but Fisher has never received anything because his name was not listed on the credits. Fisher argues, however, that his organ in the song is crucial to the success of the hit.

Initially, Fisher won his case, but with a stipulation. Because he waited 38 years to make an issue out of it, he can’t get any money for past royalites, but he could get future royalties. However, in a recent appeal, a judge overturned that decision, saying though he did have a part in the song, he waited too long to get his royalties. Now, he officially will get no money for the song, and though he could appeal to the House of Lords, it is unlikely he would win there either.

This is a pretty interesting case because you have to wonder about what you create and whether or not it really belongs to you. Even though Fisher had a big part in the song, why did he wait so long before making a case out of it? If he noticed over the years that his former band mates were making millions off of the royalties, he should have said something sooner, rather than later.

Still, once you create something, it can’t be denied that it is yours. The fact that the judge has turned down any compensation seems a bit harsh. He should at least be able to get a cut on the future royalties, seeing as how the judge even said Fisher had a big part in the success of the song.


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