Fisher v Brooker and Another: ChD 20 Dec 2006

The claimant said that he had contributed to the copyright in the song ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ but had been denied royalties. He had played the organ and particularly the organ solo which had contrbuted significantly to the fame of the record.
Held: A fair trial remained possible despite the passage of time. There had been no agreement that he would not claim any copyright interest, and no estoppel could be established. It would be unjust to deprive the claimant of his claim for future royalties. The court granted a declaration that the work was one of joint authorship, and awarded the claimant 40% of royalties as from the date of his claim and assertion of authorship.

Justice Blackburne
[2006] EWHC 3239 (Ch), [2007] FSR 12, [2007] EMLR 9
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, Copyright Act 1956
England and Wales
CitedBarrett v Universal-Island Records Ltd and others ChD 15-May-2006
The claimant was entitled to share in the copyright royalties of Bob Marley and the Wailers, and claimed payment from the defendants. The defendants said that the matters had already been settled and that the claim was an abuse of process, and also . .
CitedRedwood Music Ltd v Chappell and Co Ltd ChD 1982
It was submitted that an arrangement of an existing musical work only attracted a separate copyright if it involved great skill and labour. After referring to the University of London Press Limited, the court held: ‘That passage was cited with . .
CitedBeckingham v Hodgens ChD 2002
Copyright in music – custom amd practice within the industry. . .
CitedTaylors Fashions Ltd v Liverpool Victoria Trustees Co Ltd ChD 1981
The fundamental principle that equity is concerned to prevent unconscionable conduct permeates all the elements of the doctrine of estoppel. In the light of the more recent cases, the principle ‘requires a very much broader approach which is . .
CitedHodgens v Beckingham CA 19-Feb-2003
The defendant appealed a finding of infringement in a music copyright work, ‘Young at Heart’, based on a claim of joint authorship. The claimant had delayed his claim for many years, but now sought only rights to future royalties.
Held: The . .
CitedJennings v Rice, Wilson, Marsh, Norris, Norris, and Reed CA 22-Feb-2002
The claimant asserted a proprietary estoppel against the respondents. He had worked for the deceased over many years, for little payment, and doing more and more for her. Though he still worked full time at first, he came to spend nights at the . .
CitedJohn v James ChD 1991
The plaintiff, (Elton John) asserted fiduciary duties against his manager, publisher and associated companies under agreements for the exploitation of compositions, accompanied by the assignment of the copyright in the compositions.
Held: Such . .
CitedGodfrey v Lees 1995
The court described the test for joint authorship in a work of music: ‘What the claimant to joint authorship of a work must establish is that he has made a significant and original contribution to the creation of the work and that he has done so . .
CitedKelly v Solari CEC 18-Nov-1841
Recovery was sought of money (pounds 200) paid an error of fact. There had been a life policy, but it had lapsed before the death of the life assured. The policy had been marked ‘lapsed’ but the marking had been overlooked.
Held: Where money . .
CitedLyell v Kennedy HL 1-Aug-1889
The true owner may recover money which was rightfully his from a person to whom the money in question had been wrongly paid by the collector of the money. A fiduciary is one who has undertaken, whether on request or without request, of his own . .
CitedBamgboye v Reed 2004
When finding a joint authorship, the court may award less than one half of the interest, in this case 33%. . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromBrooker and Another v Fisher CA 4-Apr-2008
The claimant had asserted a joint authorship of the song ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ written in the sixties. The defendant appealed saying that the claim had been brought too late, and that the finding ignored practice in the music industry. The . .
At first instanceFisher v Brooker and Others HL 30-Jul-2009
The claimant sought a share in the royalties from the song ‘A whiter shade of pale’ but had delayed his claim for 38 years. He had contributed the organ solo which had contributed significantly to the song’s success. He now sought a share of future . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Intellectual Property

Updated: 20 January 2022; Ref: scu.247505