Copyright - is this reasonable?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by MoominDave, May 15, 2009.

  1. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I recently requested permission from Boosey to write a setting to a translation from French by an author who falls under their copyright. The author in question is long forgotten by most of the world; I only came across her work because Britten (who was an acquaintance of hers) set some of it.

    I've just received a reply from the estate, via Boosey - the request is for a "50% split of the new work", a phrase which is slightly mysterious to me - do they mean that they want 50% of any money from sales (N.B. I have made it clear to them from the start that I do not intend to make money from the piece)?

    My main question - is this reasonable? 50% seems on the high side to me intuitively - but is my intuition correct?
  2. Beesa

    Beesa Member

    You are asking for problems asking for advice from generic internet persona on such an important issue.

    Perhaps scan and post the communications between you and B&H and let those who have genuine legal knowledge on such matters provide an opinion.
  3. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    All I'm asking is whether this seems vaguely reasonable. Not a contentious question at all - just after some informal feedback from those who have seen this kind of thing before before I sign anything.

    I'm perfectly happy to sign their contract stating this once they've clarified their exact meaning - provided the 50% is somewhere near reasonable practice. My experience here is minimal - so I'm seeking the experience of others... The issue isn't that important, tbh, as I see very little money in the project; I'd just like to avoid being potentially taken for a ride if 50% is on the high side.
  4. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Dave, the thing is this ... do you have any choice in the matter? If not negotiable, then it's a case of like it or lump it. At least they have some sort of deal on the table.
  5. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Well, I could always just cut them out by using the original French words, which are uncopyrighted. That wouldn't be too much of a hassle.

    But I am really asking more in a spirit of enquiry than in one of hardheaded negotiation; signing this as is doesn't bother me unduly - but maybe next time I'm in the same position the question might have more pertinence.
  6. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Yep, it's reasonable....sometimes things go their favour....etc etc
  7. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Thanks Keith, that's exactly the kind of reply I was after. :tup
  8. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    Hi Dave,

    I'm assuming a lot here, but think they may imagine you are going to publish the piece and are asking for 50% of any available royalty (50% words/50% music - which I guess is the normal split when lyrics are involved???) rather than a royalty of 50%, which is indeed high!! (I wish!!)