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
If you've ever wondered what song lyrics mean ... If you've ever wondered what song lyrics mean ... Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, April 24, 2008 Rating: 5


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


All comments must be moderated by a member of the IPKat team before they appear on the blog. Comments will not be allowed if the contravene the IPKat policy that readers' comments should not be obscene or defamatory; they should not consist of ad hominem attacks on members of the blog team or other comment-posters and they should make a constructive contribution to the discussion of the post on which they purport to comment.

It is also the IPKat policy that comments should not be made completely anonymously, and users should use a consistent name or pseudonym (which should not itself be defamatory or obscene, or that of another real person), either in the "identity" field, or at the beginning of the comment. Current practice is to, however, allow a limited number of comments that contravene this policy, provided that the comment has a high degree of relevance and the comment chain does not become too difficult to follow.

Learn more here: http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/p/want-to-complain.html

Powered by Blogger.