The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #105164   Message #2162844
Posted By: Richard Bridge
03-Oct-07 - 01:29 PM
Thread Name: EFDSS Wins Heritage Lottery Grant
Subject: RE: EFDSS Wins Heritage Lottery Grant
The following is simplified.

The PRS collects the same amounts for contemporary songs, non-copyright songs, contemporary songs arranged by others, and non-copyright songs arranged by others. Oh, and non-copyright words with copyright music attached, and non-copyright melodies (and arrangements) with copyright words attached.

Where an arrangement (or new words) is with copyright material, then the division of such proceeds is allocated between the two (or more) copyright owners (well, actually, performing right owners) in the proportions they have agreed. If one has more "clout" he might get 90%. If I wanted to arrange a song by Andrew Lloyds-Bank, or one in which Cameron Mackintosh owned the rights, if I could get permission at all, that would be the BEST likely outcome for me AND in practice I would be forced to assign my copyright in my arrangement to them in consideration of the income stream I got. Those rightsowners preserve and promulgate their works as they see fit.

Where the "song" (curiously, copyright law does not recognise such a thing as a "song" that is to say a combination of words and music, but protects the musical work separately from the literary work) has non-sopyright words or music, all the money goes to the owner of the relevant rights in the copyright work.

When (as it does) the PRS coerces payments for the use of wholly non-copyright material, the money goes into "the black box" (ie non-attributable income: there is also a thing called "the grey box") and black box income is usually paid out to all those receiving PRS money pro rata to the money they get from the PRS. Well, some of it goes to support SECAM's swimming pool (this is only partly a joke).

So NONE of the money generated via PRS from non-copyright music goes to support, preserve, promulgate, etc that non-copyright music. In view of the cultural importance of much of that non-copyright music, that cannot be right.

I suggest that in the case of a Child ballad, the cultural value of the contribution of a modern tunesmith is likely to be about 10% of the cultural value of the whole. In the case of an arrangement of Greensleeves (let us imagine Davy Graham's Bluesleeves) I argue that the value of the contemporary arrangement is 10% of the whole.

The money derived from the non-copyright material should go to an organisation that protects preserves and promulgates the non-copyright material. It would better our cultural heritage. Sorry, Mr Peters, but that is to me (and to , I suggest, the country) more important than your economic wellbeing.

That is my case. Yours presumably is that you do more to protect preserve and promulgate in practice England's (and Scotland's and Wales') musical and lyrical cultural heritage than the EFDSS and the colelctions like the Vaughan Williams collection, and the Baring-Gould collection do. I wonder whether even Martin Carthy could make that claim.

It wasn't just a "flip" suggestion. The figures may be debatable but it seems to me a very good way to provide long-term support for our musical archives, and it has at least two possible advantages, first that it would encourage the EFDSS to put its treasurechest into play (imagine Congleton Bear" treated like Black-Eyed Peas' (it was them, wasn't it) version of "Cotton Eyed Joe") and second that it would not need primarly or secondary legislation only a rule change by the PRS. The snag is that the PRS is controlled by music publishers, so they might need their arm twisted more than a bit.