Generally, if you wait 38 years to bring a claim to court, you get the door shut in your face. But not in the UK, apparently, if you helped write one of the most recognizable songs of the late 1960s:
Procol Harum organist Matthew Fisher has won his long battle to be recognised as co-writer of the band's hit Whiter Shade of Pale.Fisher won at trial in 2006, but had an appellate court throw out the verdict because he waited too long to bring the claim. The Lords disagreed:
Law Lords have ruled that Mr Fisher, who claimed he wrote the song's haunting organ melody, is entitled to a share of future royalties.
The Law Lords said the delay in bringing the case had not caused any harm to the other writers who had, in fact, benefited financially from it.That's an interesting argument - that the other copyright holders weren't prejudiced by the delay because they got a larger share of the royalties than they were due during that time. I'm not sure that holds water, but I'm not a Lord, so what do I know?
Lord Hope added that there were no time limits under English law in copyright claims.
Of course, you know, this requires some video: