A Question for Publishers

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by MarkGillatt, Jan 31, 2007.

  1. MarkGillatt

    MarkGillatt Member

    I have just completed (though not tested with a band) a transcription of Beatles Echoes of an Era. My question is, who do I seek permission to publish from? Hal Leonard and John Higgins, Publisher and Arranger of wind band score I transcribed from, or The Beatles copyright holder?

    Can anyone help?
  2. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Erghhh! Yuck.

    I would have thought that you would need to get permission from both, but this is just a guess. I'm sure someone more wise than me would be able to answer more authoritatively. If it was me though, I'd approach both in order to be safe.
  3. MarkGillatt

    MarkGillatt Member

    I think it's a damn sight better than Beatles Medley 1&2, and it is the 40th anniversary so it seems like a good idea!:biggrin:
  4. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    I meant the legal mess you were asking about, it wasn't a comment on the quality of the music! :biggrin:
  5. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    When you contact them, say that you are wishing to do a transcription, not that you have done one. Memory serves that actually doing the arrangement is against copyright unless you have permission.
  6. Alan MacRae

    Alan MacRae Member

    I'm sure one of the publishers will be along shortly to give you the accurate answer, but from my limited understanding of copyright you need the original Beatles copyright holder's permission, not the wind arranger/publisher. However, if there is any original stuff in the wind band version (intro etc) you will need their permission.

    Copyright holders do not usually allow arrangements or transcriptions if there is already an existing arrangement. They may like the idea here as it allows a medley which is already published to have a wider audience (and therefore more revenue) Also, most copyright holders want a look at the arrangement before they'll give permission. There is nothing to stop anyone arranging any piece of music... it's performing it, recording it, copying it and selling it that causes trouble.
  7. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Correct, it is illegal to even arrange something in your own home without copyright holders express permission.

    You might like to have a read of the tMP Copyright Fact Sheet which will give you a good basis on which to continue. Link to this is at the top of the page.
  8. MarkGillatt

    MarkGillatt Member

    Thanks for all the suggestions, anyone got Michael Jacksons phone number? I think he holds the copyright to Beatles songs
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2007
  9. yorkie19

    yorkie19 Active Member

  10. MarkGillatt

    MarkGillatt Member

    Well, I've sent an e-mail to Sony-ATV asking permission. I'm not holding my breath though!
  11. Robin Norman

    Robin Norman Member

    Okay, a very complicated system Music copyright law. I've been in the industry now for 13 years and still don't understand the complete ins and outs of it all.

    As I understand it you need to go to the original copyright owners, not Hal Leonard. The Beatles songs are administered in the UK by Music Sales so you need to go to their copyright department in London (used to be 8/9 Frith Street but they've recently moved).

    In terms of whether you should have actually completed the arrangement in the first place, yes, you should get an agreement in principal to start the arrangement in the first place from Music Sales. However, past experience with MS says that very often they will ask to see the arrangement before they will grant the formal permission/license. Therefore they will grant permission to make the arrangement only as far as for them to see it. At that point (after you have spent ages actually doing the arrangement) they may say (and they are completely within their rights to say) 'No' with no specific reason so you could spend ages without ever actually being allowed to perform the work.

    Whatever you do, do not perform this arrangement without the relevant permissions. Publishers (us included) are, quite rightly, very protective of their copyrights, they pay a lot of money to get them. However, of all of them, Music Sales is the most protective (particularly over 'key' copyrights such as the Beatles) and have been known to prosecute. It is not worth the risk.

    So these are the 'rules' as I understand them. I'm not saying that they are 100% accurate but they are the ones I was taught to work by as the series editor at IMP/Warner Bros. when I was there.

    I hope that this is of some help.

    TIMBONE Active Member

    Hi Mark. Email
    Say that you want to make a transcription of the arrangement. You will be sent (email) an authorisation request form, (if you want any help with the form, pm me). If there are any issues concerning this being a transcription of an arrangement, Catherine will inform you of this and point you in the right direction.

    Of course, you havn't done this transcription yet, as you need to seek permission first, although you will be asked to send a copy for approval before a license is issued!!!
  13. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    So obviously it would be politic to leave a respectable interval between them asking to see the score and you sending it. Mailing it by return of post is a bit of a give-away! :biggrin:
  14. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    As is mentioning that the arrangement has already been done, on an internet forum! :rolleyes:
  15. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - if I was the arranger of the wind band score and saw another ensemble playing my efforts, I would not be too chuffed at not getting any credit or acknowledgement. I would assume that permission should be sought from who owns that copyright, namely the original arranger's publisher.
  16. MarkGillatt

    MarkGillatt Member

    Cheers Tim for your advice. I have e-mailed Catherine and await her response before commencing my arrangement :wink:

    Surely there must be a better way, a central body that could negotiate on behalf of all budding arrangers? I wish I was imaginative to write my own tunes! :rolleyes:
  17. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    I'm pretty sure that it was Ray Farr who arranged Toccata in D minor (Sky version?). A while ago, there was a wind band version of the same arrangement, only this time arranged by Ray Farr/ Kevin Lamb.

    Perhaps asking Mr. Farr what arrangements and contact were made, if any, between himself and Mr. Lamb might clear up some points. :confused:

    TIMBONE Active Member

    Brassneck and Maestro, you are quite right, which is why I informed Mark that Cat Walker at Music Sales would give him advice concerning issues relating to it being a transcription of an arrangement.
  19. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    This I must cut out and stick on my wall so my pupils and family can see it!!!!!:biggrin: :biggrin:
  20. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    It's a typo, surely... :)

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