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Thursday, 2 December 2004

ROYALTIES GO TO THE WALL

The IPKat is a little late on this news item, reported by the BBC last Saturday.

Former schoolchildren who sang on Pink Floyd's 1979 single "Another Brick in The Wall" have begun action for unpaid royalties. Royalties expert Peter Rowan said he was bringing a claim on behalf of one former pupil and was working with others. The 23 then teenagers from north London have been unable to claim royalties, as they recorded their vocals in secret. The single with its chorus "We Don't Need No Education" became a children's anthem and was a UK and US number one, while the album The Wall, on which the single features, sold more than 12 million copies. The album was also turned into a semi-animated 1982 film, starring Bob Geldof of as a pop star who descends into madness. Mr Rowan said: "They (the former schoolchildren) are owed their money and we lodged the first claim last week. I've been working on it for almost two years".

The former pupils from Islington Green School, north London, were taken to a nearby recording studio by their music teacher but without permission from the headmistress. On hearing the song, she banned the pupils from appearing on TV or video, meaning they had no proof of their involvement on the track. The lyrics

"We don't need no education,
we don't need no thought control,
no dark sarcasm in the classroom --
teachers leave them kids alone.
Hey, teacher, leave those kids alone!
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall."

were also described by the Inner London Education Authority as "scandalous". The school was paid £1,000 and later given a platinum record of the song, but the pupils were paid nothing. The former headmistress has now agreed to support her former pupils' claim.

The IPKat wonders whether, with the benefit of education, the children would have struck a better deal with the recording company in the first place.

Performers' rights here and here
More walls here, here, here and here

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I am a little puzzled as to how they can start an action after so many years have passed. Surely there must be some limitation law that applies?

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