Copyright gone wrong!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by James McFadyen, Oct 29, 2003.

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  1. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    I come bearing bad news - for the first time ever I have had my first turn-down in copyright! :cry:

    My colourful orchestration of Philip Sparke's 'A London Overture' has been turned down, the two main reasons (given by Stan Kitchen - Editor at Studio Music) was that they felt they couldn't market the orchestral sheet music to orchestras and more importantly, Philip Sparke didn't like the idea of his music put to the orchestra, I was told by Stan, which is a real pitty since in my view his music is perfect for the orchestral idiom.

    It's a very disapointing day now, when over a year ago I slaved over the score, now to find out that I might just get to use it for my own use in a local orchestra or something, and even that I'm pushing my luck.

    I am sad, so sad :cry:

    Anyhow - tomorrows another day! :lol:
  2. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    ah well, you win some, you lose some. At the end of the day the rules are there to protect the wishes of the composer so you can't really argue with it. Just keep going and hopefully you'll have more success with your next creation!
  3. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    too right! I do respect Philips wishes and priciples and wouldn't dream of arguing with them, but like you say, you win some, you lose some.

    I think what's hit me the most was, when I was writing it I was thinking 'God, this is gonna sound hot!' coz it really did compliment the Brass Band score well.

    but hey
  4. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    Call me stupid, but before spending a year doing this, I would have checked with Mr Sparke. In my ignorance have I missed something, or am I stating the obvious?!

  5. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    I had a friend who arranged "my favorite things" only to find he couldn't use it because of copyright problems!

    Lesson well learned, for everyone I'm afraid, Check first!

    Sorry james cause, i know how much time and effort goes in.
  6. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    You need to be careful, taking this approach; I believe I'm right in saying that you can get sued for having already made the arrangement on being turned down!

  7. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    Dave - As I've said in an earlier post in copyright control, one of the loop holes in copyright is you usually need to arrange the piece BEFORE you get legal permission.

    I went through all the proper channels.

    I first contacted Philip via email about doing a string orchestra arrangment of it, he didn't mind, but said I would need to contact Studio Music because they hold the copyright and although I am not obliged to contact the composer, but because I have much respect for him and the fact that he knew me, I thought it was the right thing to do.

    Later on, I decided that an Orchestral adaption would probably suit it better, so I contacted Studio Music, who were at first thrilled by the fact of Philip Sparke's music put to an Orchestral scene and they suggested that I write my orchestral arrangement and send it to them and go from I did!

    and 17 months later It's kinda turned the other way, but Stan Kitchen was very very good about it and he's keeping me in mind for any other similar projects that may come in the future. So he was obvioulsy impressed with the quality of the score.

    Obviously, it goes without saying, I'm not holding any grudges about it - occasionaly things just don't go the way we plan.

    It was going to be a whole series of orchestral arrangments and the Idea was to make a couple of 'Philip Sparke: The Orchestral Collection' albums, I made a small business plan and everything. I didn't go into it half-arsed.

    I'll send Philip a complimentary of my hand-written score unless he doesn't want one. I really do not want it to go in the bucket, but, it is useless now and it is essensially part of the trash :cry:

    PS: I would be much obliged if you would know that this had nothing to do with not going through the proper channels, or neglegance on my part or on anyone's part for that matter, Studio Music and Philip had more time to think about it and make an educated and moral choice, afterall copyright is a moral right.
  8. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Oh right; fairy snuff.

    What a pain in the bum! Better luck next time...

  9. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    Only to an extent - it's my belief that it's more for he benefit of the copyright holder than the composer.

    In this particular case the composers wishes have been followed, however I have personal experience of obtaining permission directly from the composer only to have it refused by the copyright holder! Not, I would argue in the composers best interests. If the copyright holder is refusing permission they are also potentially depriving the composer of income.
  10. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    What I meant was that in theory they were supposed to protect the interests of the composer. Obviously I know it doesn't always work out that way, but in this case it has. Sorry for the confusion.
  11. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    No confusion - I agree with you. In principle copyright is supposed to protect composers. It's just that I think that it has been twisted by the copyright holders for thier benefit - not the composers.
  12. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    I suppose I had to come on here sooner or later....

    I won't dispute the channels you say you went through, James, but as not only a PRS employee, but a part-time arranger myself, where all my arrangements of copyright material are involved, I take the trouble to make it exactly clear what I'm arranging and who I'm arranging it for, and how many instruments are involved, before I attempt to arrange it. And quite a lot of the time, I will be asked to supply a score to the copyright owner/s for approval (That was certainly the case when I arranged Big Spender for a 10 piece last year and a descant by James O'Donnell for Once in Royal David's City. Okay, they're nowhere near the size of the task you undertook James, but the analogy is there!) And I'll have to go through this all again for all those copyright pieces I've arranged (legally, I hasten to add!) should I wish to publish them for my some-time-forthcoming publishing business I intend to set up when I leave the PRS next year!

    And what Mike Saville said is valid, I'm not going to 'name drop' but I spoke to a choral composer about a fanfare he'd written for brass ensemble, asking if I could transcribe it for band, and he said it was fine by him but I'd need to get permission from the copyright holder (based in America!) I still await their response but they could quite feasibly turn it down where the composer has had no objections! That's copyright, folks.....

    One thing puzzles me though, James. Why have you decided to go 'public' with this story and name names? I've been turned down a number of times over the years for arrangements I've wanted to make.
  13. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    I made a post earlier this year about a proposed Philip Sparke project I was trying to work at - there is no crime for this, and I just wanted to show that there has been an outcome to this project and wanted the people who read about my previous post to have the concluding part.

    I'm only naming name's because in the past, too many people have 'nick-picked' at the detail in my posts, therefore I have supplied enough info to back-up my post, again this is not a crime, I just did it to put the picture straight, the way it was, as this is an open forum and I believe I have not offended anyone, neither am I embellishing the truth.

    I would appreciate if all people posting in this post could acknowlage that this is an info post about my Philip Sparke arrangment, not a 'I need copyright advice' post, as there will be a considerable danger we go off-topic, or at least missing the point of this post. Thank you.
  14. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Absolutely, so long as you realise that by incuding this on a widely read brass forum, whether it's for info or whether it's for copyright advice, people will make comments relevant to the topic of copyright. By the way, did I accuse you of any 'crime' or 'embellishing the truth'? Please don't put words into my posts which I haven't used. I very much doubt if anyone's been offended here. As I'm only a fairly recent registered user, I didn't see your initial post about the project you undertook, so apologies for that.

    James, you sometimes come onto this forum and make your points in a forthright manner ('I'm from Scotland and we don't mince words' or something like that) which is all well and good, but then you get rather sensitive in accusing some people who take the trouble to reply and comment on what we believe to be relevant points, of 'nitpicking' your posts. Might I suggest it would be a good idea to learn to take what you dish out?
  15. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    Dave, please remove or severely edit your last post. These kinds of comments are best used in pm's and I would appreciate if you would respect this post. We are talking about one of the biggest Brass Band legends and all you can do is bicker. I will not be provoked anymore into childlike squables, I will now be dealing with posts, like yours, that provoke me and insult me. I will not stand for it! I agree I am sensitive to some topical issues on tmp, but that does not give you the right to start it.

    If you do not remove it or edit it at once, then I will lodge a formal complaint.

    A copy of this email has been send to TheMusicMan (John).

    Thank you.
  16. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    Locked for discussion - apologies all
  17. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    2 of 1
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