Intellectual property lawyers meeting Jan. 28 in Salisbury

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Intellectual property lawyers from around the state will meet in Salisbury Jan. 28 to discuss the legal implications of a recent British copyright and joint authorship case involving the legendary rock band Procol Harum’s 1967 hit, “A Whiter Shade of Pale.”
The roundtable discussion is sponsored by the Trademark and Copyright Committee of the Intellectual Property Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and will be hosted and led by Salisbury attorney Robert Monath, who concentrates his practice on intellectual property matters, including copyright and trademark law. The meeting will be held in the Seminar Room at Downtown Salisbury, Inc. and will begin at noon.
The discussion will consider several authorship and royalty matters raised by the Procol Harum case. The band’s lead singer, Gary Brooker, recently won an appeals court ruling in London awarding him full royalties for “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” which topped the charts in several countries and has earned millions of dollars. The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by the band’s former organist, Michael Fisher, who had claimed joint ownership of the song nearly 40 years after it was recorded. Although Fisher’s claim was successful in a lower court, an appeals court ruled that he could not claim any past or future royalties, even though he was entitled to cite himself as a co-author of the song, along with Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid. The court referred to an “excessive and inexcusable delay” in pursuing the claim.
Fisher quit the band in 1969.
The roundtable participants will include Mitch Tuchman, co-chairman of the N.C. Bar Association’s intellectual property section and an attorney with Womble Carlyle, and Eileen Gillis, chair of the Trademark and Copyright Committee and an attorney with Kilpatrick Stockton. Tuchman was formerly head of publishing activities at the Los Angeles Art Museum. Gillis is also a Professor of Business Ethics at Guilford College in Greensboro.
For more information, contact: Rob Monath at 704-645-0630 or rob@robmonath.com.

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