Iron Maiden Settle “Hallowed Be Thy Name” Lawsuit

As previously reported, Iron Maiden were drawn into a legal dispute over “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and ended up having to drop it from their setlist due to it containing pieces of Beckett’s “Life’s Shadow.” The suit said Steve Harris and Dave Murray took six lines from the track, which is credited to Robert Barton and Brian Quinn. Quinn wrote the song in 1969, and Barton recorded it with Beckett for a 1974 release. “The Nomad” was also mentioned in the dispute for similar reasons. The matter was settled out of court in favor of attorney Barry McKay, who was acting on behalf of Quinn. Harris and Murray had to pay £100,000 in damages as well as £285,000 in legal costs for McKay and Quinn, in addition to their own legal costs. “Hallowed By Thy Name” and “The Nomad” are now cleared to be played live again. However, it is worth noting that McKay is “representing three other songwriters who also allege that Steve Harris and Dave Murray have profiteered from lyrics that they wrote.”

Representatives for Iron Maiden issued the following statement:

“We do not believe that Brian Quinn was the one who wrote these six lines in question over 40 years ago as was claimed by Barry McKay. However due to escalating legal fees and the potential huge costs of a court case it was pragmatic to reluctantly settle this action with McKay for £100,000, a fraction of what he brought the action for. A serial litigator like Mr McKay would have foreseen this.”

McKay also responded:

“Brian Quinn did not settle for ‘a fraction’ of his claim. The claim form lodged with the High Court, stated that we were claiming a minimum figure of £200,000. Instead Harris/Murray instructed expensive lawyers who went on to cost them £300,000, as well as having to pay for every penny of my legal costs which were £285,000, on top of which they had already previously paid out £220,000 in damages and costs when they secretly settled with the other co-writer of “Life’s Shadow” Bob Barton.

If Andy Taylor and Rod Smallwood (managers of Harris/Murray/Iron Maiden) had provided accurate earnings figures for the two Maiden songs that infringed the “Life’s Shadow” copyright at the start of the claim (which they did not) and then offered Brian Quinn a fair settlement of around £250,000, Steve Harris and Dave Murray could have saved themselves around £600,000 in legal costs. Instead they wanted a fight and so they got one.

To call me a “serial litigant” is sour grapes. Harris and Murray and their managers appear to me to be bad losers. However, I am now also representing three other songwriters who also allege that Steve Harris and Dave Murray have profiteered from lyrics that they wrote. If that makes me a ‘serial litigant’ so be it. Musicians who have their intellectual property exploited by others who did not write or compose it are entitled to professional assistance.”


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