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Another lawsuit in the wall

The kids who sang the chorus in Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall” are suing for royalties.

Twenty-three teenage pupils from Islington Green School secretly recorded vocals for the track, which became an anthem for children with the chorus “We don’t need no education.”

On hearing the song, the headmistress banned the pupils from appearing on television or video — leaving them no evidence and making it harder for them to claim royalties — and the local school authority described the lyrics as “scandalous.”


Royalties expert Peter Rowan told Reuters he was appealing to a music royalties’ society on behalf of a former pupil and was working with other members of the class. He said he was still trying to contact the majority of the group.

“They are owed their money and we lodged the first claim last week,” Rowan told Reuters. “I’ve been working on it for almost two years.”

Assuming they win, I’m curious to know who owes them the money. Pink Floyd itself? If so, is that David GilmoreGilmour or Roger Waters? The label? I figure that’s more likely, but what if it had gone belly-up? It’s an interesting question.

UPDATE: Spelling corrected. My apologies to David and his kin.

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  1. Jeff Gilmour says:

    Argh.. it’s Gilmour.. G-I-L-M-O-U-R

    sorry.. pet peeve

    Probable distant cousin,

  2. William Hughes says:

    This is actually an extension of the royalties arguments made by artists that recorded in the 1950s and 1960s. Clearly, if someone is recorded on an album (or CD) and that person does not sign away his/her rights to royalties, then the person is entitled to those royalties based on standard recording artist policy. I’m sure BMI (the British equivalent of ASCAP) has a policy regarding this.

  3. Ron Zucker says:

    Just FYI, those who were already paid are those who would owe the money. Here’s the deal. Royalties are paid to the musicians on a track. This is SEPERATE from the writer’s royalties (which is why John Entwhistle was broke when he died while Townshend can have disastrous addictions and still have money). But, in both cases, it’s a set pool of money divided contractually.

    That’s the definition of a “studio” musician. A Studio Musician signs away rights to royalties in return for a set amount of cash. Studio Musicians are usually superior musicians both because they need to be able to put together something good quickly without necessarily knowing the singer, and because they are expensive in a highly speculative industry, so they have to be awfully good to get work. It’s expensive to pay somebody for a cut that doesn’t get played.

    (For music buffs, yes, I’m aware that certain studio musicians, including both the Funk Brothers in Motown and Booker T and the MG’s, which was the backup band at Memphis’ Stax records, got “cuts” of the money. But few studio musicians have that kind of clout.)

    In this case, the kids would be suing those who actually got paid for royalties. A legitimate settlement offer would be to pay each one “scale” for a studio musician, plus interest. The studio charges musicians back for studio costs, including studio musicians, which is why I say it would have to come from the musicians.

    However, given the, uhm, how do I put this in such a way as to not show bitterness over my own studio experiences, CRIMINAL accounting used by studios to ensure that no artist sees what’s coming to him or her, I wouldn’t be surprised if Pink Floyd is still paying off for studio time to record that record. If so, whatever percentage remains unpaid will come out of the record company’s pockets.

    Is it too bitter to admit that the thought of money coming out of record company’s pockets keeps me warm on cold nights?

  4. chris says:

    Wouldn’t this action be time barred at some point?

  5. Kent says:

    Chris, I don’t think there’s a statute of limitations on civil actions. As far as I know, that only applies to criminal prosecutions.

    Your debts don’t just expire after x-number of years. They stay with you forever unless you declare bankruptcy.

    A perfect example are all the WW-II era lawsuits by holocast survivors. They are suing corporations for actions taken 60-70 years ago.

  6. Mathwiz says:

    Have you heard the Radical Clerics’ version of this classic?

    We don't need sex education
    We don't need no birth control
    No gays or lesbians in the classroom
    Teacher, save your Godless soul
    All we want is just a
    few more holes in the wall
    [between church and state, that is]

    Pretty much covers their entire agenda, doesn’t it?

    “Moral values,” my ass.

  7. Peter Rowan says:


    Hi there! Just to add some facts.

    I’m the royalties agent (not a lawyer!) who is working on behalf of the former pupils. We’ve just lodged a claim with PAMRA (that’s a music royalties society, not The Music Royalties Society) for royalties owed to them from broadcasts (not record sales) since 1997.

    The members of Pink Floyd receive their own payments for these broadcasts, and they are unaffected. This is a separate pot of money for session & backing musicians. There is no claim being made against Pink Floyd or EMI, they are not being sued, and the claim is not a legal action. This royalties right exists in Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, and some other countries, but not generally in the USA (except for digital downloads and transmissions).

    We hope that the publicity from this story will encourage other former pupils to come forward and make a claim.

    Best wishes

    Peter Rowan

  8. Jerry Garcia says:

    In my personal opinion, I think the pupils sould just stop whinning, and enjoy the fact that they took part in one of the greatest albums of all time, even by todays standards. Roger waters and the rest of pink floyd are the greatest musical Geniuses the world has seen sence Beathoven, Mozart, BB King, Richie valens, and john lenon. Its too late for them if anything they should be aloud to collect royalties from the EVIL record companys ( by the way which ones PINK ).

  9. Jerry Garcias real name (Jeff) says:

    Sorry did not mean to give you false info 🙁

  10. Rob says:


    For the last time, stop giving inaccurate legal advice. You may be interfering with people’s rights. There are civil statutes of limitation for every kind of action.

    Folks, don’t be foolish. Speak to an attorney about legal issues. Don’t listen to anyone else.