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The High Court (IPEC) has determined a claim concerning the ownership of copyright in a version of the song ‘Touch Sensitive’ by the rock band ‘The Fall’ which appeared on the band’s album "The Marshall Suite" released in 1999.

The Claimants sought declarations that the copyright in the song was owned one thirds to Mark E. Smith, the band’s long-time lead singer, and two thirds to the Second Claimant Ms Adamson, a former member of the band. Mark E. Smith appeared as a witness for the First Claimant, Minder Music Limited, to whom his share in the song had been assigned.

The Defendant, Mr Sharples, had produced the song and contended that he had also contributed as a writer. Mr Sharples further contended that he had entered into a settlement agreement with Ms Adamson entitling him to a one third share in the copyright of the song. The Claimants asserted that Mr Sharples had made no contribution to the writing of the work and that the settlement agreement was not a binding agreement.

Finding for the Defendant, the Court upheld the settlement agreement and further found that, in any event, the Defendant had made a significant and original contribution to the music of the song and was thus entitled to a 20% share as joint author.

Daniel Burgess acted for the Defendant

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