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EDITIONS
Monday, 23 September, 2002, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Silent music dispute resolved
Mike Batt
Mike Batt put the track on an album by The Planets
Musician Mike Batt had paid a six-figure sum to settle a bizarre dispute over who owns copyright to a silent musical work.

Batt, who had a number of hits in the 70s with UK children's characters The Wombles, was accused of plagiarism by the publishers of the late US composer John Cage, after placing a silent track on his latest album, Classical Graffiti which was credited to himself and Cage.

Cage's own silent composition, 4'33", was originally released in 1952.

Cage's publishers have finally been persuaded their case was, to say the least, optimistic

Mike Batt

Batt has now agreed to pay an undisclosed six-figure sum to the John Cage Trust by way of an out-of-court settlement.

"I am relieved we have been able to settle this one out of court," Batt said. "This has been albeit a gentlemanly dispute, a most serious matter."

Personal Respect

He added: "I am pleased to say that Cage's publishers have finally been persuaded their case was, to say the least, optimistic.

"We are, however, making this gesture of a payment to the John Cage Trust in recognition of my personal respect for John Cage."

A spokesman for Peters Edition, Cage's publishers, said they felt "honour had been settled".

"We do feel that the concept of a silent piece - particularly as it was credited by Mr Batt as being co-written by 'Cage' - is a valuable artistic concept in which there is a copyright."
John Cage
John Cage premiered 4'33 on 29 August 1952

"We are nevertheless very pleased to have reached agreement with Mr Batt and accept his donation in good spirit."

Live performance

In July Batt attempted to prove his silent track differed from Cage's by staging a performance of the piece.

Peters Edition responded by hiring a clarinettist, to perform Cage's silent composition.

Batt said the idea of the track was to separate some acoustic arrangements from rockier material on Classical Graffiti, by his newest group The Planets.

"I thought for my own amusement it would be funny to call it something so I called it A Minute's Silence and credited it as track 13 and put my name as Batt/Cage, as a tongue-in-cheek dig at the John Cage piece," he said.

See also:

17 Jul 02 | Music
01 May 02 | Music
10 Aug 01 | Showbiz
07 May 01 | Politics
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