April 4, 2008 / 11:29 AM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Procol Harum wins back "Whiter Shade" rights

(Adds reaction from both sides)

By Mike Collett-White

LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) - Procol Harum founder Gary Brooker on Friday won his court battle over royalty rights to the band’s most famous hit, the 1967 song “A Whiter Shade of Pale”.

In 2006 London’s High Court awarded former keyboard player Matthew Fisher 40 percent of the copyright of the track, which has sold an estimated 10 million copies worldwide, after he successfully argued that he wrote the organ music to the song.

Brooker appealed, and on Friday judge John Mummery said that, while Fisher should be credited with co-authorship of the seminal track, the fact that it took him 38 years to take the case to court meant he should not benefit financially.

“Matthew Fisher is guilty of excessive and inexcusable delay in his claim to assert joint title to a joint interest in the work,” Mummery said in his judgment.

“He silently stood by and acquiesced in the defendant’s commercial exploitation of the work for 38 years.”

Fisher described the appeal court’s ruling as “peculiar”.

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