Clearly, the copyright of the composers, ascribed by the very act of creating each melody, has lapsed.
I have arranged one tune, No 59 (unnamed) for a flexible string ensemble, but here a string quartet:
Anyone who compares the published tune, No. 59 in the Skene MS, and who listens to my arrangement, will acknowledge the considerable "value-added" impact of the arranger.
Under our copyright laws, even if I had permission of a copyright owner to make the arrangement, the legal ownership of the arrangement is with the original copyright owner.
The arranger has no legal rights to the arrangement (adaption).
The rights of "valued-added" component pass back to current copyright owner of the source piece.
This is theft, pure and simple.
Moreover, study this aspect of copyright law, and you will find that any adaption of the copyright piece without persmission is illegal, and, further, that adaption is (again) owned by the current copyright owner of the source material.
If you sing or play a tune you have heard, and it is currently owned by some party, you are making an adaption (arrangement), and you have breached copyright.
It is appropriate that the copyright owner of the source music is paid a fee under performance rights when you perform the arrangement. It is theft when they also own the arrangement.
Arrangers make some pretty ordinary, even poor quality, source material listenable. They should continue to own their value-added content.
(Of course, I understand the ownership wrinkles that occur when you make your creative contribution as an employee, when the empolyer owns the copyright. But, here, the arranger is being paid for the creative imput.)Tweet
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