Godfrey v Lees

Reference: [1995] EMLR 307

Court: Chancery Division

Judge: Blackburne J

Date of judgment: 21 Mar 1995

Summary: Intellectual property - copyright- claim for joint ownership

Appearances: Patrick Milmo KC - Leading Counsel (Defendant) 

Instructing Solicitors: Kanaar & Co for the Defendant


The Claimant was a classically trained pianist invited by a pop group to reside with them and act as orchestral arranger of a number of their songs. He never became a member of the Group.


Whether the Claimant was the joint owner of copyright in six musical works for which he had made orchestral arrangments or contributed to their composition.


The Claimant had established that he had made a significant and original contribution to the creation of the work and must be regarded as a joint author. But as he had waited 14 years before asserting his rights, he was estopped from revoking the implied license granted to the pop group for the exploitation of the works.


You snooze; you lose.