Hyperion Records wait for appeal verdict

April 2005

Record Labels, Music Publishers

Hyperion Records who lost a copyright action brought by Dr Lionel Sawkins are awaiting the decision of the Court of Appeal in the matter. Mr Justice Patten had held that copyright was owned by Sawkins in the ‘editions’ of a musical works originally written by baroque composer Michel-Richard de Lalande. Hyperion contend that an edition of an existing musical work cannot be an original musical work.
COMMENT : This case is a good example of what is, and isn’t, an ‘original work’ and therefore protected by UK copyright law. It is also interesting to see that Mr Justice Patten found that Dr Sawkins had done enough to become an author. But in the well know ‘Spandau Ballet’ case of Hadley v Kemp it was held that contributing to the performance and interpretation at the recording of pop songs would not make the person a co-author of a work. But as Cornish & Llewelyn rightly say, this is a sphere where the dividing line is ”difficult to draw”
See Law Updates August 2004
Hadley v Kemp (1999) EMLR 589
Wood v Boosey (1868) LR 3 QB 33
Redwood Music v Chappell (1982) RPC 109
Cornish, WR & Llewlyn (203) Intellectual Property at page 394

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