For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

If you've ever wondered what song lyrics mean ...

... you probably don't take words at their face value any more. That's what led to the golden oldies of 1960s icons Status Quo ending up in court. In Lancaster and another v Handle Artists Management Limited and others, a decision of the Court of Appeal for England and Wales on 22 April (picked up by LexisNexis Butterworths' subscription-only service), Lords Justices Thomas, Jacob and Wall had to consider whether the trial judge understood the lyrics of a settlement agreement following a royalty dispute -- or had he read too much into them?

The claimants and two of the defendants were members of the pop group Status Quo who had an interest in royalties payable under various recording agreements concluded between July 1966 and December 1982. These agreements included what were termed the 'Pye agreements', presumably because they related to music recorded under the late, lamented Pye label.

Following the usual outbreak of discontent and litigation, a deed of release was signed by the parties. This deed of release purported to record what the LexisNexis note describes as "a clean break in relation to the royalties in issue, against the confused factual background at the time the deed was entered into" [the IPKat notes: this may or may not be a polite way of saying "since it was all a long time ago and we may have been experiencing a higher level of consciousness than that displayed by our agents and lawyers, let's just take a flying guess as to what the royalty entitlement should have been and leave it at that"]. Although the deed was expressed in the widest possible terms and was in respect of 'any and all sums of money', the judge in subsequent proceedings concluded that the deed of release signed by Lancaster did not include royalties paid under the Pye agreements.

The Court of Appeal allowed the defendants' appeal. On the true construction of the deed, the judge had erred in construing the language of the document narrowly. The language of the deed of release had been formulated in the language of the clean break and there was nothing in the deed, or the factual matrix existing at the time the deed had been entered into, to indicate that monies payable under the Pye agreements should not be included within the term "any and all sums of money".

The IPKat is sad that the full text of this decision has not yet appeared on BAILII, since he's curious to see which bit of "any and all sums of money" excluded the Pye agreements. Merpel wants to know if his readers can tell him who are older: the members of the band or the Lords Justices of Appeal who presided over this case.

The Pye Museum here
The meaning of song lyrics here and here
What words really mean here
What cats really mean here

2 comments:

Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Jacob said...

For info the case is not on Bailii because it was an ex tempore decision - we get to check and correct the transcript.

Jeremy said...

Thanks for letting us know!

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