Christmas is coming..... wot's copyright

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Dave Payn, Sep 27, 2004.

  1. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    I know it's early for Christmas but no doubt some of you will be thinking of making arrangements of festive tunes in the very near future if not already. Allow me to advise you of what's copyright that might be believed to be otherwise. As to why they're considered copyright, please don't ask as I don't make the rules!

    O Little Town Of Bethlehem
    The tune commonly used in the UK (i.e. 'Forest Green') is fully copyright through being 'collected' by Ralph Vaughan-Williams. Permission to arrange must be sought from Oxford University Press Tel. 01865 556767

    Rocking Carol ('Little Jesus Sweetly Sleep')
    Also copyright for the same reasons as Forest Green. Martin Shaw was the collector and this is also owned by OUP

    The Twelve Days of Christmas
    The tune that traditionally accompanies the words 'Five Gold Rings' first appeared in arrangement by Frederic Austin. (Don't ask me why this has been accepted, I find it difficult to believe too!) As this is such a popular work, the advice is to inform Novello and Co (the owners of 'Five Gold Rings') of the intention to arrange (or better still, a slight change to the melody that accompanies Five Gold Rings bypasses any particular copyright clearance problems....). Tel. for Novello is 020 7432 4215

    I Wonder As I Wander
    Also collected, by John Niles. Owned by G Schirmer Ltd in the UK. Tel. 020 7434 0066

    In the Bleak Midwinter
    The most popular tune (i.e. the one that appears in most brass band carol books!) has got one more Christmas of copyright left in it, as it was composed by Gustav Holst and is owned by OUP. Another well known setting is by Harold Darke and owned by Stainer and Bell (020 8343 3303)

    Little Drummer Boy
    Often thought to be trad, this was in fact written by Harry Simeone, Katherine Davis and Henry Onorati and is owned in the UK by Warner Chappell Music Ltd (020 8563 5800)

    When A Child Is Born
    Again, often thought to be trad but written by Zacar, Dario Baldan, Alberto Saleno, Maurizio Seymandi and Francesca Specchia with the English words by Fred Jay, it's jointly owned by Ardmore and Beechwood (part of EMI - 020 7434 2131) and the Italian publisher Belriver SRL.

    Sussex Carol (On Christmas Night All Christians Sing)
    Also collected by RVW and owned by Stainer and Bell

    These are what PRS would view as the 'contentious' Christmas numbers insofar as copyright is concerned. Works like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Calypso Carol, Let it Snow Let it Snow, Little Donkey, White Christmas etc, are all copyright too. If you need any further information regarding who to approach to get permission to arrange a copyright work, please get in touch.


  2. Ah I see. Sorry Dave I misunderstood the title of this thread as "wot's copyright?" as being the answer to the question, "did you get permission to arrange this work!"

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