And so it was that later

Last year, original Procol Harum organist Matthew Fisher filed suit for a share of the royalties for the 1967 Procol hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” arguing that he had developed the tune’s distinctive organ line and was entitled to be listed as one of the composers, alongside Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid.

A British court has now found in favor of Fisher, and awarded him a 40-percent share of the take, which is less than Fisher had asked for, but consistent with the judge’s finding that his “contribution to the overall work was on any view substantial but not, in my judgment, as substantial as that of Mr. Brooker.”

Brooker, who will appeal, called the decision “a darker shade of black,” and announced: “It is effectively open season on the songwriter.”

Fisher, who left Procol after their third album, A Salty Dog, will not be awarded back royalties from any time before the actual filing of the suit in May 2005.

1 comment

  1. Mister Snitch! »

    21 December 2006 · 11:21 pm

    Actually, we’re generally in need of shorter periods for copyright protection. Those laws were written for a whole different, pre-mashup world, and exist today mainly to ‘protect’ corporations long after actual creators have passed on.

    In this case, Brooker got 40 years of royalties all to himself, and is now obliged to acknowledge the contribution of a BAND MEMBER. Hardly some guy off the street looking to cut himself in. Open season on the songwriter? What crap. In a perfect world, he’d pay 40 years of back royalties for being such an ass.

    This happens all the time in ‘creative’ businesses. Many people actually contribute to the process, at many levels of significance. But usually one dominant player takes the entire credit, and the paycheck. That’s life. A few creatives actually spread the reward around a bit, in honest acknowledgement of the truth. Most behave more like Booker, unable to acknowledge his creative debts.

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