How do I go about arranging? (legality wise)

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by tewkeshorn, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. tewkeshorn

    tewkeshorn Account Suspended

    This is one for the tmp composer/arranger posse, I want to write my own arrangement of a song. And as far as copyright etc goes I'm sure there's a whole minefield of licenses, monies to be paid, PRS and stuff before I can even put pen to paper. :(

    Question is what's the process I need to go through before I can happily sit down and actually start writing? I don't want to make money from it at all, or even sell the piece, just for me to play in public if that's any easier. :?

    Looking forward to the responses, and dreading that it's gonna cost me hundreds in fees just to be able to play my own piece on a bandstand! :?
  2. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    I'm sure there's threads about all this on here somewhere already... and I think that tMP lot are sorting out a list of "rules" to follow for this kind of thing so watch out for that as well :)
  3. eckyboy

    eckyboy Member

  4. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    Hi John,

    Just to let you and others know that the tMP team are in the final process of producing a comprehensive fact sheet on the subject of copyright, and we are hoping to launch it this weekend.

    If you need any advice before then, send me a PM with the details of the piece and I will get back to you ASAP with the relevant information.

  5. tewkeshorn

    tewkeshorn Account Suspended

    Just an update to how I'm getting on, thanks v much to Dave Payn for finding who owns the copyright for me.

    After some investigation I've now applied for what I believe is called a copyright license so that they won't sue me for nicking their song!

    Thanks guys. Might even start an 'arrangers diary' to go through the entire process from a complete newbies perspective like myself! :p

    Edit: (RT)
  6. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    Oh god, I don't think I have the strength to blab about this again! :wink:

    Bust just for Alec!!! ;) ;)

    All I will say, however, is, find out who owns the copyright, contact them, they'll tell you to do the arrangment, do it, send it to them, they'll review it and discuss their fees, sometimes an arranging fee (usually around £30, although not to lay down a definate figure!)

    If your sending it to a publisher, then u need not worry about publishing fees, however if you are publishing it yourself, or selling it yourself, it's usually a percentage of ur selling price (roughly 15%)

    Copyright is not rocket science and does not pose as many problems as one may think.

    I also stated before that in most cases, you will have to write the arrangment in the first place to get copyright, where as copyright law says we must not write until we seek permission to do so - copyright owners will not sign copyright licences without hearing or seeing the arrangment first.

    I'm sure the tMP factsheet will be very helpful and deal with the practicalities between Copyright Law and Copyright in Practice, sometime two different things!

  7. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    Wrong! Copyright Law has many intricacies and therefore causes confusion throughout all branches of the arts which are affected. Many people think they understand copyright law, a lot of what they believe to be correct being passed by word of mouth. This is where the problems start.

    Wrong! In some cases you may be asked to submit a score after the initial contact with the copyright holder and before permission is granted. This does not mean that it is legal to produce an arrangement without permission. It is Illegal! Admittedly this is a problem area, but presumably if the copyright holder has requested a copy of your score (in order to evaluate whether or not to grant permission) they are giving you permission to produce an arrangement by default. It's a case of which comes first - the chicken or the egg!

    Wrong again! You will find that in most cases it is not necessary to submit a score before permission is granted.

    This is why we have found it necessary for The to produce a set of guidelines.

  8. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    My statements are based on my own wealth of experiences writing arrangments for one off performances and commercial arrangments - and they've all been right and quick for me! :wink:

    I do admit there are many different areas of copyright law - but to say mine are wrong, when I know too well what I can and cannot do, I studied Copyright Law whilst at college, along with it's recent 'updates'.

    Anyone interested in how to work copyright for you the quick way (still legal! :) ) pm me, or wait until tMP release their hopefully idiot-proof guide!

  9. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    James, what is right and quick for you is fine, but making statements that are incorrect is not, especially on The We have a moral obligation to advise and direct our members to act sensibly and above the law in all matters concerning copyright. If you want to publish these statements please do it on your own web site and not on here. Thank you.

  10. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    Freedom of speech!!!????

    I don't want to start up trouble, but there is little point in making you statement in red and bold, then putting a smily face - it just doesn't work.

    It is also not appropraiate to suggest I act outwith the law in dealing with copyright, those who know me best will tell you that I take copyright very seriously and always act within the law in all matters of copyright.

    Regarding copyright, I will keep my trap shut in tMP.
  11. Moy

    Moy Active Member

    Aw no not again.
  12. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    Thank you James - that would be much appreciated!

  13. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    Sorry Moira,

    I am going off now for a cup of tea, been working all night, so I am a little wound up! ;) which is nothing new for me.

    Roger should have known better, he should have known that I cant walk away and have to say my piece.

    Sometimes I am just toooooo passionate about some things! :) :)
  14. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Sorry, James, but I think Roger is right.

    I am certainly not an expert in copyright law, but your statements do not correspond with my experience.

    On all the occasions when I have obtained a copyright licence to make an arrangement for Egham Band, I have never been asked to submit the arrangement for approval.

  15. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    When I was a kid, I knew a "shortcut" or two myself.....regarding the long bikeride to school.

    I could cut through someone's paddock, acroos the 14th tee of the Golf Course, and ride on the railway service road right up to the back fence of school, then chuck my bike over.

    It was quick, it was easy, it worked for me, but it was illegal and blooody dangerous!

    While I believe you were telling us information that works for you, sometimes the quick and easy way isn't the right way.

    Take it from someone who's help an open license for just over 12 months, and has lost all but 2 points......the quick way ain't worth it.

    Any other time James, you're a wealth of information, don't feel disheartened now! :D
  16. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Hi All

    OK, conversations and threads such as this are exactly the reason has been working extremely closely with chosen eminent figures and experts, whose combined experience totals over 180 years in the world of brass music making and composition, to prepare what we will refer to as the tMP Copyright Fact Sheet.

    This fact sheet has involved massive effort from all concerned, and has taken well over 3 months to prepare and will be launched on tMP later today. It most certainly is not an idiots-guide, moreover it contains absolute facts, information and references from tMP's chosen experts and indeed will be the only source of copyright information officially endorsed by tMP.

    Copyright issues and related legal information is a minefield... it's as simple as that! Many people have many different opinions and ideas as to what is correct and what is not correct in the world of copyright. tMP is in the public domain, and as such many people from the world over can reply to issues and questions regarding copyright. With this in mind, I would urge anyone requiring copyright information to undertake significant research before they commence any work on arranging etc. You will then be free to choose whichever source of information you feel is appropriate to your circumstances.

    With regard to the issues raised in this thread, in my opinion Roger is correct. With this being my opinion, and me owning tMP, this can also be regarded as being endorsed and as such, the official opinion of tMP.

    So, please keep an eye out for the new category (tMP Library) and related post announcing all this very soon... :D :lol: :lol:

    Enjoy... :):)
  17. Andy Duncan

    Andy Duncan New Member


    The law which concerns any potential arranger for brass band is the 'Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988'.

    It states (very clearly) that it is an offence to begin to arrange or adapt a work which is in copyright without first having the agreement of the copyright holder - so Roger is absolutely correct. Officialy speaking you must first get permission from the copyright holder before you begin to make your arrangement!

    To read the 'Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988' for yourself go to

    That said, getting permission is not a complicated process, although as any arranger will tell you - it can sometimes take a long time!

    In the case of a pop song, it is very often either Music Sales or Warner/Chappell who are the copyright holders, and both of these companies have dedicated copyright departments who can help you with your request.

    If your request to make an arrangement is accepted then you will be sent a licence and normally charged a fee. The fee will depend on the number of performances your arrangement is getting (normally around 25 pounds plus VAT per performance).

    However, the main point is that in order to keep on the right side of the copyright law - get permission before you begin!

    I hope this helps.

    Andy Duncan.