A little more than 40 years after the first English hippies snagged a
copy of A Whiter Shade of Pale, Procol Harum organist Matthew Fisher
bites his nails in anticipation of finally finding out whether he really
gets to keep the songwriting credit (and 40% royalty share) a judge
determined he was entitled to last year. Harum singer Gary Brooker is
obviously contesting the ruling, calling bullshit on how long Fisher waited
to complain about his unfair treatment. And according to Billboard,
the case could be more important than a pair of sixtysomething ex-rockers
tussling over the rights to a golden oldie:
It has been widely speculated that the decision could have far-reaching repercussions in the music industry, encouraging any musician who had played on any recording in the last 40 years to raise a potential claim of joint authorship. Baldwin told the judges today: "It raises issues of principle which are of general importance to the industry and which merit particularly close consideration by the Court of Appeal."
Of course, even if Fisher wins, he's "only to be entitled to royalties dated after May 31, 2005, when the claim was filed" -- which annually still comes out to about as much as a lower-middle-class American family makes in a year -- thanks to the four-decade lag between release date and complaint. However, if the case holds up, this may finally be Ringo's time to shine. Or his lawyers' time to shine, anyway.
More about the AWSoP lawsuit