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MMD > Archives > July 2013 > 2013.07.09 > 04Prev  Next

Permission for a New Arrangement of Old Music
By Rowland Lee

[ Jody wrote to Rowland Lee --
 [ "What about a 'new performance' created by a hired arranger?
 [ Presumably the original composer or whoever owns the rights to
 [ the composition should be paid too.  How would that be done?"

If you want to make an arrangement of a copyrighted piece of music,
proceed as above ["Permission to Duplicate Old Music Media"], though
this time you will be asking for permission to alter the original
material and so the copyright holder may want to hear the finished
arrangement before giving their permission.  Most sheet music copies
carry a reminder that unauthorised arrangements are prohibited; you
may need to get your arrangement authorised!

When you hire an arranger to make an arrangement of a copyright
piece of music, the arranger will normally expect a fee, as the
arranger cannot own any of the copyright, which will remain with the
composer/writer/publisher although it would be legitimate and reasonable
for the arranger to be paid a small royalty based on a percentage of
unit price if it feels that that would be the right thing to do.

Many people do not, however, appreciate that if you ask an arranger
to make an arrangement of a non-copyright public-domain piece of music,
then that version of the piece is legally deemed a new piece of music
and becomes 100% the property and copyright of the arranger.  Even if
you get the arranger to sign a contract with you, assigning to you some
of this copyright, the arranger is legally bound to retain a minimum
50% stake in the music.  It is because of this ruling that my own
catalogue includes versions of the Verdi Requiem and the ballet Swan

Do please bear in mind that, generally speaking, the owners of music
which has been largely forgotten are more than happy to see it re-used
for a new generation.

Rowland Lee
Lincolnshire, UK 

 [ Rowland Lee's "Requiem", with the composer conducting the Mikhailovsky
 [ Opera Choir and the St. Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestra,  is at
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Tue 9 Jul 2013, 15:33:55 GMT, from time zone GMT+0100.)

Key Words in Subject:  Arrangement, Music, New, Old, Permission

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