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Bevington

Avison Concerto in D, arr Harker, pub Novello.

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I wonder if anyone is familiar with this work? I am trying to find out who owns the copyright, as it has just been recorded on an (unaltered) 1877 Willis organ for a forthcoming CD . Novello give the puzzling response that "it is not one of ours" (despite "Novello" clearly printed on the copy), but are unable to offer any further information. Any ideas appreciated.

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For various reasons of no interest here I get involved in copyright issues quite often.  The most recent arranger of a work will frequently be the copyright holder, or her/his estate if deceased.  I assume the arranger you are referring to here is Clifford Harker, in which case the remaining copyright will probably have many years to run.  One can encounter difficulties if one does not remember this.  Another example is the 'Largo, Allegro, etc' variations by Festing arranged by Thalben-Ball.  While Festing died in the 1750s, GTB's copyright will not expire for nearly 40 years yet.  Therefore those who blithely upload their performances to youtube or other popular websites seemingly have no idea of the problems they will encounter if the copyright police (who continually and aggressively comb the internet for infringers) decide to take action.  It is particularly vicious because, even if you take down an item should they contact you, you will quite likely still be taken to court if you refuse to pay them an arbitrary penalty for the period during which you were the infringer.  The same can apply to those including it in recitals or on CDs etc without prior agreement.

I'm not a copyright lawyer but one doesn't have to be.  The rules are pretty simple and aggressively enforced as case law shows.  If a plaintiff provides evidence that you infringed, the court will simply find against you with no further argument, and of course add costs on top of a fine or other penalty.

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Thank you. Yes, it is Clifford Harker's arrangement, and there again I can find nothing to illuminate the issue of how one gets permission to use it. I am perplexed as to why Novello disown it (I have my late fathers 1937 edition - one of those ones with a pink/grey cover and St Cecilia window) when they must somewhere have some idea.

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Try MCPS (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society) (or whatever they call themselves these days).  In most cases they have the answer to copyright issues for recordings, and can tell you what to do if they don't have the info.  They will also deal with all the licensing (on payment of a fee of course!).

PRS (Performing Rights Society) deal with public performance licensing.

I've found MCPS to be very helpful, they'd rather not have to chase those who infringe copyrights.  It's been a few years since I've had to deal with them though - I've produced a handful of recordings on cassette & CD over the years, but nothing recently aside from my own (simple) arrangements of hymn tunes that are in the public domain.

Every Blessing

Tony

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