Songwriter sues over copyright of Cher hit

Roger Pearson reports.

The author of Cher's number one hit, Believe, claims his copyright has been infringed.

SONGWRITER Mark Scott is seeking an injunction to stop three music companies, and his former partner Brian Higgins, from selling copies of Cher's number one hit Believe – which Scott claims he co-wrote.

He is also seeking an inquiry into damages – or an account of profits and payment of sums found due.

In a writ recently issued at the High Court, Scott claims he and Higgins co-wrote Believe in 1991, and that they originally recorded it as a demo on a domestic tape recorder, before making a studio master recording at FX Music later that year.

According to the High Court writ, Scott claims that in September 1997 Higgins – without his permission – made an arrangement of the song with Steven Torch and Paul Barrie, and other people identified only as Gray, McLennan and Powell.

In addition, Scott claims Higgins permitted Warner Chappell Music, Warner Music UK and Rive Droite Music to make and release records of the arrangement by Cher.

Scott says his copyright has been infringed by the arrangement, and that Higgins is liable to account to him for misapplication of partnership assets, and to pay additional damages for his deliberate and calculated infringement of his rights.

Scott and Higgins formed a band in 1987 called Anything You Want with David Colquhoun. After Colquhoun left, they changed the band's name to Spy, then later to Rome.

Their business continued until about 1994, when it was terminated – allegedly at the insistence of Higgins. However, Scott claims the affairs of their partnership had not been closed.

He says that the terms of the partnership stated that copyright from their songs would be owned by them both equally, and that neither would make use of the assets without the other's prior consent.

He says the terms of the contract are backed up by royalty statements and invoices.

Scott – of East Grinstead, West Sussex – who is represented by London solicitors Lee & Thompson is also suing Higgins – who comes from Old Oxted, Surrey – for an account of his profits from the use of the song, an account of the partnership profits and an inquiry into Scott's share, an order that the partnership affairs be wound up, accounts, inquiries, and payment of sums found due.