Hyperion lose appeal over musicologist’s editions of ‘out of copyright’ works. Hyperion Records v Sawkins

June 2005

Music Publishing

Hyperion Records has failed in its attempt to overturn last year’s High Court ruling that copyright royalties were payable to a musicologist for the use of his editions of the 18th-century French composer Lalande on a CD. The Court of Appeal awarded Dr Lionel Sawkins legal costs for both the initial case and the appeal. He has also been awarded damages, the amount of which are yet to be determined (although only 3300 copies of the CD were sold). The case arose out of a recording that Hyperion made in 2001 of four works by Lalande for a CD called ‘Music for the Sun King’. Sawkins prepared new editions of three pieces for the recording, which also used an existing edition by him. Hyperion paid Sawkins a fee for using the editions but did not pay copyright royalties as this was the label’s then policy towards editions of works by out-of-copyright composers. The disc was released in 2002. In July last year the High Court found that Sawkins’s (original) contribution was sufficient to give him copyright in three of the editions. The judge also found that Sawkins had told Hyperion prior to the disc being recorded and released that he expected to receive royalties.

See: http://www.gramophone.co.uk/newsMainTemplate.asp?storyID=2356&newssectionID=1
and Law Updates August 2004

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