Ronald Knox Copyright
  • Does anyone know the copyright holder for Ronald Knox's hymn translations?

    My understanding is that in UK and Australia, the texts are copyright for 70 years after the death of the author, he died in 1957, so they are still under copyright until 2027. Some them seemed to have been owned by Burns and Oates, now owned by Bloomsbury, but I am not sure about all of his hymns, for example, Sacred head ill-used.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,170
    For "Dear Maker of the Starry Skies", here's what I did:

    See hymnary.org's list of hymns by Knox:
    https://hymnary.org/person/Knox_RA

    View the list of hymnals in which it's printed:
    https://hymnary.org/text/dear_maker_of_the_starry_skies_knox

    One of them is Worship II, which I have, so I looked up the hymn (#65) and the acknowledgements (page [2] in the back of the book); and that says the words and music (!) belong to Burns and Oates.

    So that procedure could lead to information on the hymns listed in Hymnary, but "Sacred Head ill-used" isn't one of them.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 417
    I recently acquired a Knox Bible. Fr Knox's aim, from what I remember, was to translate the Scriptures in such a manner to make them seem like they had always been in English (I think he might have taken issue with Liturgiam Authenticam). It reads excellently, but I'll leave the scholars to debate its scholarly merit.
  • My understanding is that in UK and Australia, the texts are copyright for 70 years after the death of the author,

    Copyright laws are local, so if you are not in the UK or Australia, you aren't bound by their laws. In the USA, anything published before 1927 (as of this year) is in the public domain. Make of that what you will.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,170
    There are treaties that provide for the mutual recognition of copyright laws, so UK copyright is relevant in the US.
  • I think there needs to be an asterisk to this, however. If the music was published in the USA then USA law should apply to that particular publication. Consequently, the contents should be PD at least in the USA. I suppose it would be different if it was never published here, then the copyright of the issuing country would apply. That is my understanding, at least.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,170
    The Westminster Hymnal (revised edition, 1939), published in England, may help:
    https://archive.ccwatershed.org/media/pdfs/16/03/07/16-45-38_0.pdf

    It contains about 50 Knox hymns and is probably before any US publication.

    The book acknowledges some copyrights for a few hymns, but doesn't indicate any for the Knox hymns, so they probably belong to the publisher, Burns and Oates.