[the sea of waking dreams]

McLachlan trial touches on old material

Day One recap

By RICHARD JOHN -- Jam! Showbiz

It's a fight over songs from a decade ago. Vancouver-based singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan is in court to settle a dispute over who wrote four songs on her debut album 'Touch'.

Darryl Neudorf, a one time drummer with Vancouver band 54-40, is claiming co-writing credit for four songs - 'Vox', 'Steaming', 'Strange World' and 'Sad Clowns'.

Since the release of 'Touch' in 1988, thirty year old Vancouver resident McLachlan has achieved international acclaim for a series of successful albums as well as the two year old Lilith Fair tour.

During the first day in court, Reuters reports, Neudorf's attorney opened the case stating that, in the 80s, McLachlan was a talented Halifax-based singer, but had never written a complete song.

When Nettwerk Productions signed McLachlan in 1987, they brough in Neudorf to aid the budding songstress in songwriting that would evolve into 'Touch', lawyer Jonathan Simkin told the court.

"(Neudorf) is not claiming sole credit, but rather is just asking for proper credit and fair credit as accorded to the contribution that he made," Simkin said.

While Neudorf maintains he supplied integral musical parts to the four songs in question, he has not requested specific damages and needs a ruling of authorship in this case to make such a financial claim.

According to Simkin, the dispute over songwriting credit has been waging between Neudorf and McLachlan since the release of 'Touch' over a decade ago. Neudorf even approached Nettwerk for credit shortly after the album's release. Nettwerk is also is a defendant in the lawsuit.

On the flipside, Jennifer Conkie, McLachlan's attorney, told the court that Neudorf was "paid handsomely" for his help on 'Touch'. No amount was specified.

According to Reuters, Neudorf's next move is to call members of McLachlan's old Halifax band October Game. Conkie is accusing Neudorf of trying to "blacken Ms. McLachlan's name" by calling members of October Game as witnesses. The two musicians are expected to testify that McLachlan did not write some songs she has since claimed credit for.

The case, being heard only by a judge in a Vancouver courtroom is expected to last three weeks. If Neudorf wins, he will be awarded co-songwriter credit on the four songs, amounting to 1.5 cents per copy of 'Touch' sold worldwide.

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