Works by Cher, Enrique Iglesias and Andrea Bocelli are at the center of a legal battle between an independent music group and its former in-house music producer, Mark Taylor.

LONDON--Works by Cher, Enrique Iglesias and Andrea Bocelli are at the center of a legal battle between an independent music group and its former in-house music producer, Mark Taylor.

After two years working for Rive Droite Music Ltd., a subsidiary of French indie music group XIII Bis, Taylor left the company in December 2000 to set up a rival firm, Brian Rawling Productions Ltd.

Rive Droite then alerted Taylor that he was bound to them by a three-year publishing agreement. On April 18, 2002, Taylor's lawyers started legal proceedings against Rive Droite.

The High Court of Justice Chancery Division in London began hearing the case May 5.

The suit concerns a 1998 contract renewal, which Rive Droite claims both sides had intended to span three years. However, the group says, a mistake was made, as the contract was based on a previous deal that only ran for two years, and the figure was not corrected.

Taylor argues that the 1998 agreement--under which he assigned the copyright in all songs written by him to Rive Droite--was only intended to last two years as written in the contract.

Rive Droite claims that Taylor, who worked for the company on Cher's hit single "Believe" in 1998, took advantage of an error in his most recent contract, which stated the deal was to run for two years when in fact, the company claims, both sides knew it was intended to run for three.

Rive Droite contends Taylor breached the producer's agreement, made in 1998, by walking out a year ahead of schedule, and by undertaking work for Cher, Enrique Iglesias and Andrea Bocelli that he was supposed to carry out on its behalf.

Rive Droite says Taylor diverted those lucrative projects away from it.

Rive Droite claims that Taylor's argument that the stated two-year term was correct is an attempt to take advantage of the slip. The company also claims it owns the copyright to all the work Taylor did during the year after he left Rive Droite, and that the subsequent use of those recordings was in breach of its copyright.

The hearing continues this week.