Share of the hits' profits? They should be so lucky

A DISPUTE over copyright between the former members of Stock, Aitken and Waterman, who created hits for Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan in the 1980s, was settled yesterday.

On the fifth day of a High Court hearing in London, songwriters and musicians Michael Stock and Matthew Aitken dropped their claim for hundreds of thousands of pounds against Peter Waterman.

The three men, responsible for a string of hits including Kylie Minogue's number one "I Should Be So Lucky", separated in the early 1990s.

Mr Stock and Mr Aitken had claimed that Mr Waterman parted with ownership or control of the rights in recordings without their consent, in breach of a 1985 oral agreement that the three would share the profits in all their work together. The dispute centred on their in-house record label, PAL Productions, owned by Mr Waterman and set up in 1986.

Mr Stock and Mr Aitken said Mr Waterman had no right unilaterally to assign to others the copyrights of songs by Minogue, Donovan and Rick Astley.

Mr Waterman denied there was any agreement giving Mr Stock and Mr Aitken a continuing interest in the recordings. He insisted they were entitled only to payments for production work and songwriting and that these payments were made. He said they had turned down the chance to be co-owners of PAL Productions. Mr Justice Parker made an order for pounds 70,000 legal costs against Stock and Aitken.