Friday, April 04, 2008

A Pale Appeal

Last December I did a post on a successful claim by Matthew Fisher of the band Procol Harum that he was a co-author of their song "A Whiter Shade of Pale." The Court of Appeal just reversed, decision here. Lord Justice Mummery's opinion for the appeals court noted the declaratory nature of the claim rather than one to prevent future uses or a claim of infringement, something not possible given the other defendants were co-authors. On this point, he voted not to disturb the trial court's holding on ownership, but this was of no practical benefit to plaintiff since he voted to allow the appeal (that is reverse) on the grounds of excessive and inexcusable delay, as well as an irrevocable implied license by acquiescence. Mr. Justice David Richards disagreed on this final point, as regards a claim for profits sharing (he did agree on injunctive relief), noting there is under UK law (unlike U.S. copyright law as interpreted by the courts), no limitations bar on claims to copyright. It was left to Sir Paul Kennedy to cast the deciding vote with Lord Justice Mummery.


Anonymous said...

Procul Harem did not write "A Whiter Shade of Pale". Johann Sebastian Bach did back in the 17/18th century.

The proper name for the song is "Air on a G-String". Listen and be surprised, Bach was there first.

Anonymous said...

The first comment-er must be tone (i.e. pitch) deaf. "Air on a G String" is a completely different melody from "A Whiter Shade of Pale," both in the treble and bass lines.

William Patry said...

Maybe what was meant was "A Whiter Shade of G-String."