Judge says Mark E Smith ‘makes it hard to hear the words’ during The Fall copyright trial

Steven Sharples and Julia Adamson were seeking joint ownership of the 1999 song 'Touch Sensitive'

A judge ruling in a copyright dispute regarding lyrics by The Fall has stated that frontman Mark E Smith’s eccentric vocal style makes it “hard to hear the words”.

Smith’s former bandmate Julia Adamson and producer Steven Sharples were contesting royalties and seeking joint ownership of the 1999 track ‘Touch Sensitive’, which they claim to have helped write the lyrics of. Sharples claimed that the effort is a later incarnation of a previous song they performed on the John Peel Show in 1998 and that it contains lyrics similar to the earlier track.

READ MORE: The Savage Wit Of Mark E Smith

In her ruling and after listening to three versions of the song – the radio version, a live performance and the album recording – judge Amanda Michaels said: “Mr Smith delivers the lyrics in a manner which at some points makes it hard to hear the words.”

Michaels also deemed that the transcripts of the lyrics that Sharples provided were inaccurate. “I accept the contention that the line is not ‘And a Star Wars police vehicle Paul’s off’, but… the more comprehensible ‘And a Star Wars police vehicle pulls up’,” she added.

According to The Guardian, the judge eventually ruled that Sharples’ claim to have contributed to the writing of the lyrics was “not reliable” but that string passages in the track from Sharples were a “small but significant contribution” to its authorship. Adamson ruled that the royalties will be split three ways between Sharples, Adamson and Minder Music, who are in charge of Smith’s publishing rights.

Meanwhile, Mark E Smith recently blamed Tony Blair for the lack of working-class people in music, stating that “there was always privilege in music, but nowadays you don’t have a chance in hell”. Speaking to NME, Smith said: “To be honest I said about 12 years ago all this was happening. Blair started it. The posh dads don’t say to their kids any more, ‘Don’t be in a group.’ They see U2 and they’re saying, ‘Be in a group, make money.'”

The Fall released their 31st album, entitled ‘Sub-Lingual Tablet’, during May. Former Fall member Brix Smith-Start is also set to publish her memoir, The Rise, The Fall & The Rise, in early 2016 via Faber Social. Smith-Start was married to Mark E Smith in the 1980s and features on the iconic group’s albums ‘The Weird And Frightening World Of’, ‘This Nation’s Saving Grace’, and ‘Bend Sinister’.