Examples of egregious abuse of copyright by Catholic publishers
  • Hello everyone,

    I believe I have seen people on this forum talking about Catholic publishers changing a few words of a hymn text and then copyrighting the new version. Does anyone have any specific examples of this? I was just looking through our "Breaking Bread" missalettes from OCP, and actually, though they do dumb-down many of the texts, I don't see copyright notices by them.

    Thank you!
  • check the back to make sure
  • Dumbing down of the texts is copyrightable.

    The second page in JOURNEY SONGS says:None of the pages in this book may be reproduced in any way without written permission from the publisher and the copyright holder.

    So, the mere ink patterns on the page are copyright, copy them, get fined.

    Texts that are PD with the word, "alt" means that this is not the original (PD) text but has been changed. So, it's new cloth and may be copyrighted.

    Here's What Star Is This, text written before 1749, translated (yes, translations may be copyrighted too) before "1876, alt."

    Meaning that someone has changed it.

    The Negro Spiritual, an art form, reflecting the blood, sweat and tears of the African people. This music is to preserved, part of the public domain. Well, here is it,VERSES 2 and 3 COPYRIGHTED 1992

    "Now the journey has begun, now the journey has begun, now the journey has begun, give me Jesus.
    When the prize is surely won, when the prize is surely won, when the prize is surely won, give me Jesus." ©1992 James Hansen

    One form of it in the original PD form:

    Oh when I come to die
    Oh when I come to die
    Oh when I come to die
    Give me Jesus
    Give me Jesus
    You may have the world
    Give me Jesus
    I heard my mother say
    I heard my mother say
    I heard my mother say
    Give me Jesus
    Give me Jesus
    You may have the world
    Give me Jesus

    Dark midnight was my cry
    Dark midnight was my cry
    Dark midnight was my cry
    Give me Jesus
    Give me Jesus
    You may have the world
    Give me Jesus

    In the morning when I rise
    In the morning when I rise
    In the morning when I rise
    Give me Jesus
    Give me Jesus
    You may have the world
    Give me Jesus

    I heard the mourner say
    I heard the mourner say
    I heard the mourner say
    Give me Jesus
    Give me Jesus
    You may have the world
    Give me Jesus


    So do the two verses that are copyrighted make it more Catholic?

    Why were they used, when the true original stands on its own.

    Here they have chosen to fool with a valuable piece of our musical heritage.

    WHY?

    Copyright rears its head.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,349
    Besides producing a copyrighted text, the new author has changed the mood of the song.

    The new verses presenting a comforting and perhaps comfortable faith: we are setting out now on a journey, a progress toward a fulfillment which is assured ("surely won") in the future.

    The original verses are about faith amid darkness; they are about past times and future times, but not now; they're about dying, despair, resurrection, and faith in the face of them all.
  • Ah yes, perfect changes for a church in which hell is only a word.
  • Thank you for your example, Frogman. Is that one in JourneySongs also? Is that a GIA publication?

    I asked this question because I have been challenged to produce specific examples of this. I did look again at my OCP book, and though I know the "alt" makes it eligible to be copyrighted, it doesn't appear that they have done so. Hmmm, I just noticed that the front of the book does say that the entire volume is copyright by OCP. I guess that covers everything, then? I know in the Methodist Hymnal, some of the hymns actually say "public domain" under them, which I'm not seeing here. The person that challenged me claims that unless it has a copyright symbol under the actual hymn, it isn't copyright, but does that just mean that they didn't have to obtain permission from anyone else before changing it and then including it under their general copyright?

    I guess another question would be: is there a single public domain hymn in the whole shebang that hasn't been "alt."-ered? I'll investigate that question after I get some sleep!!!

    Thanks again!
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    Here they have chosen to fool with a valuable piece of our musical heritage.

    WHY?

    Copyright rears its head.


    (I must say that in all my travels through many different circles as a musician over many years, one of the most commonly misunderstood concepts related to music that I have encountered is the concept of copyright law and its accompanying theory and the application of the same, and how all of this figures into and is played out in real world scenarios. I am not surprised, therefore, to see some of that here, though it is not crystal clear as to what extent this misunderstanding or misapplication of copyright principals might actually be at play and how much of what is being said is in some way rhetorical in essence. I don't want to come across as erudite, but I have to say, there is at least some gap in understanding here, as it is sometimes not easy to get one's head around some of these ideas. Copyright is a boon to the creative community, despite its sometimes misapplication by some quarters, so I do feel the need to speak quasi authoritatively in its defense, and I continue to be mystified as to the genesis of some of the reasons for the ongoing assault on, seemingly, the essential concept of copyright as a protective mechanism for the artist. I hope no one takes offense).

    Well, what does this have to do with copyright?

    Because I add something to an existing piece in the Public Domain (i.e., author(s) long since dead), then, copyright, ??? Does what, influences what? Maybe the 'lack of' a permanent ongoing copyright, one could argue, to protect the "sacrosanct" this or that. But copyright? I don't get that. And by the way, these types of verses within the black music vernacular, in fact, in many folk traditions in America, are interchangeable, i.e., a certain amount of innovation with these verses is expected and adds to the style. They are not attributable to a particular author and most often are organically developed over years. They are not, per se, sacrosanct, and these type of verses are usually seen, in folk performance practice, i.e., aside from the concert hall, as utilitarian, especially after the first two or three of the more well known verses. As long as they don't interrupt the flow and have the same meter, same basic story line or theme. It is not much different, in principal, than interchanging common PD church tunes with different sets of words, a practice widespread and quite acceptable. "New Britain" = "Amazing Grace." Oh goodness, copyright rears its ugly head. "Londonderry Air" = "Danny Boy" Is this the ugly head of "copyright?" Kind of a non sequitur.

    The modern black church does this kind of thing a lot. "I love the Lord / He heard my cry / And pittied ev'ry groan.." (Richard Smallwood?? Whitney Houston?? no, the Psalms so I guess David, King of Israel, but not exact, a traditional adaptation used in the black church, going back who knows how far, but does RS have a copyright, you betcha) , and turn around and within that same meter, in the same song, sing "Amazing grace / How sweet the sound / That saved a wretch like me..." like a seemless garment. Many many gospel "hits" are adaptations of white penned hymns, one need look no further than "Oh Happy Day." Does someone want to complain about that, after all, they changed the feel completely. Ludicrous, one might say, and yes, and I say the same thing here. Good taste, or personal taste, might take a hit, but that is about it. (Not suggesting OHD to be bad taste, quite the contrary). (BTW, I am in no way saying it is OK to steal someone else's ideas, and copyright, rightfully so, is in effect for the life of the artist plus, and so, we aren't talking about trampling on the rights of another, all of this discussion so far refers to the Public Domain).

    If someone has the audacity to do this, (fiddle with a classic) my goodness, let them. What are they gaining, and what is being lost? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. They might sell an arrangement and that is about it. I guess one could complain about usurping a tradition, but again, this goes on all the time and it is more a tribute than an usurpation. When you buy a collection like a hymnal, you pay the same price regardless, so it is a moot point, really, in this context especially. So, again, if there is a culprit in any of this, and I say there is not, then how is it that it is deemed to be "copyright" law or theory?
  • The matter is simple. If it can be re-copyrighted with a small change in text, then one can presumably charge royalties and have monopoly printing rights. By the way, there are actual established rules for this in the world of books. The changes have to be substantial and affect the whole manuscript. Otherwise, it is copyright fraud. but the church music world has done this very thing for years without check.
  • There are definitely things in the OCP books that are PD and their blanket copyright over the entire book only stops you from copying them...and using that sheet of paper since it is the image of their engraving.

    Writing it out by hand or using Sibelius to create a new page of it, with exactly the same notes, is not an infringement.

    If there is an "alt" you have to be vewwy, vewwy careful, especially since the alt may be more than 100 years old and itself PD.
    As I have said before the ICEL Public Domain hymnal section has about 3% in it that are NOT PD because the arrangments are coyrighted by their composers.

    I am in the midst of two and a half projects that are competing for my attention, but I will provide what you need to cite, please email me privately,
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    'The changes have to be substantial and affect the whole manuscript.' from Jeffrey's post.

    Does this apply to first, the English translation of Latin hymns, and second, the texts based on the same source?
  • I don't know how it works in music but in book text, the rules are very strict. Substantial means that your changes must affect the substance of the book. It is not enough to merely add a few things. If you only do that, you can only invoke copyright protection for the new matter.
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439
    So if am understanding this correctly, if an original says this:

    AAAAA

    and an "arranger" or someone writes this:

    AAABA

    then the "arranger" can get copyright for both "AAAAA" and "AAABA"?
  • Off topic, but worth considering-
    We provided music for the funeral of a former pastor of our parish Tuesday morning. We weren't officially contacted with that request until the previous Friday. He was native Irish, so hymns using ST. COLUMBA, KINGSFOLD and SLANE were to join the chanted portions (Requiem aeternum, Alleluia, mode VI, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, In paradisum and Salve Regina) and Chris Walker's setting of Ps.27, "The Lord is my light.)
    I knew our parish secretary was against the wall with time for the Order of Worship booklet, so I placed a call to OCP customer service and asked "Linda M." whether she could provide pdf's immediately for most of the above that appear in their MI/BB, ASAP. I knew that that "service" is a normally $130. annual subscription. She acknowledged that, but said that as soon as forwarded the order of music, she would attach them all gratis in a reply, which I then could forward to the secretary for ease of word processing. I had them all within a half-hour, the booklet was mastered and off to the memorial chapel (who printed the booklets.)
    Of course, "Linda" had our account visible on her monitor and knew that our parishes have provided tens of thousands of $ income for decades, but that, to me, was not a factor in her charitable assistance.
    OCP's chin is a prominent target for many reasons. But, as was pointed out in another thread about the military's needs for sound files, there are always persons behind the facade who do realize the true "missionary" aspect of their corporation's operations.
    BTW, "Londonderriere" was not sung at the good monsignor's liturgy!
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Back to copyright, wouldn't AAABA, for AAAAA be a plagiarism? (It is in the book world as Jeffrey mentioned above.) But I don't know how a hymnal text (or translation) can be substantially different if it's from the same source. I'm wondering whether someone in CMAA can change not -so-good texts (and transaltions) with tunes in PD and free them with new and better texts.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    If there is a new copyright, it would come under the category of an arrangement,or derivitive work, which is copyrightable, but only for the arrangement itself, (see below - quotations from the code) not every pre-existing setting or even future to be settings. For every alleged copyright violation, there has to be a lawsuit brought, (though I guess the threat of a lawsuit can have the same impact). I am sure no one could ever prevail in any court case defending a "copyright" over someone correctly using a PD work in its original form if the new "copyright owner" indeed had the chutzpah to bring such a law suit.

    The copyright laws in this country have been hammered out in our legal system and been fought over for decades now with the prevailing idea that true fair play is always the over riding principal. There just are not examples in our laws that allow for weird upside down interpretations of those stated principals. (The one notable exeception that would perhaps abridge those principals, but only to a degree, would be the still growing extension of the amount of years past the death of the composer in which copyright would still apply, and reasonable people could certainly disagree here on how long that should be). IOW, one can usually assume these concerns have long ago been settled and they are "settled" because for all intents and purposes, our courts and our legislative bodies have all agreed to the relative balance being appropriately set in place as to be fair, more or less, to all concerned parties.

    § 103. Subject matter of copyright: Compilations and derivative works

    (a) The subject matter of copyright as specified by section 102 includes compilations and derivative works, but protection for a work employing preexisting material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully.

    (b) The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material.


    Please, folks, go down to "Borders," or Barnes and Noble" order up a coffee, and pull off the shelf and start to read "This Business of Music," and just see how artfully all of these concerns have already been dealt with. You come away with a great appreciation for the laws of this country truly working to protect the authors' creative works of all stripes. To not see this is something akin to trying to convince the guy at the local NO church that maybe, just maybe, the tradition of the church has something positive to offer, but he can't agree, though he has not attended any traditional liturgy at all, much less one well done. So it is Hurd, Haugen, Haas all the way baby. OOH yeah baby! (oi vey!). Really folk, unless you actually have done some serious reading of the copyright code itself or excellent guides through those statutes, ala the very standard "bible" of the music industry "This Business of Music," I must say, respectfully, you really are not knowing enough to weigh in intelligently, at least with pronouncements, and arguing from hearsay sorts of examples should be seen for what it is, i.e., empty of point of reference grounded in truth in theory and in fact. I do know copyright theory can be prickly, but it is paramount to have one's facts straight, and the code itself is online, so if you have the time....


    Jeffery, what is the reason for the "monopoly" tag of copyright principal always being trotted out. I am a "monopoly" if I own my own work to the exclusion of others, sure, but why the pejorative implication here. I cannot be more than a single entity, so by default I, or my assigns, become a "monopoly" but there is not a choice here. So this is a red herring in a sense.
  • It's a monopoly because the "owner" is forcibly preventing someone else from writing or composing the same or similar thing or making even one copy of something that is metaphysically infinite in its copying potential. It's a good thing that the disciples with loaves and fishes didn't claim to be the sole owners and coerce people not to copy. For more on the monopolistic nature of this and its results, see Boldrine/Levine. As for the genius of our copyright laws, I daily stumble into half a dozen examples of legal book burning going on, way worse than the fires of Alexandria.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    Well, our society has deemed this a good thing, i.e., protecting authors' rights. I would assume your income as an author is based, somewhat at least, on your, or your publisher's, well established rights in this regard. You, yourself, as an individual, and for the sake of argument divorced from any publisher agreement or sponsor, could of course, choose to relinquish all such claims. So, you do have freedom from the "tyranny" of copyright in this regard. I would certainly not wish to impinge on those rights you enjoy now, especially if your income depends on it. So why would you, presumably, wish to dismantle copyright protections for others, others whose livelihoods depend on copyrights? Both big fish and small fish. I don't quite get it. You apples and orangutans comparisons I don't quite get either. The five loaves, c'mon.


    Your opinion in this regard, (which I am sure is much more nuanced, has to be, but I have to take it for now at more or less "face value" )and which you, of course, have every right to, is definitely in the minority and has been for many decades - which is not to say it is wrong, but again, copyright is well established for a reason, it works well. Perfect, no, but it has helped to create good incomes for some, and smaller ancillary incomes for many others who might not otherwise see the fruits of their creative labor.
  • "Society" did not vote for the Sonny Bono copyright extension act, which was the biggest land grab in copyright history. That was Disney that rammed that through Congress. And, no, I don't make money based on preventing others from copying me. In fact, I'm surrounded by people attempting to copy me, since I have no copyright in my services. Pity, huh? Otherwise I could just be a slacker and not worry about anything. As it is, I have to stay on my toes, same as any other worker save a few who live of government protected monopoly claims. I know that I keeping shocking you with outlandish claims but I can't but be truthful here: I would gladly dismantle all copyright claims, which is to say get the government out of the publishing business. I don't think Queen Elizabeth should have done it and neither do I think the U.S. Congress should do it. I far prefer the free system of the Continent before the 20th century, you know, the time of Goethe, Boccherini, and Schluter, or the way the fashion and architecture industry works today without IP.

    but let's not keep debating this on this forum. It's probably boring for people.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Mr. Z. You have a freedom not to free your music from copyright law, if your income is truly dependent on it. So why are you against freeing hymns that can be used in our liturgy, and without being controlled by business oriented publishing companies? I believe our litrugy can be done more fruitfullly by those who go more than what is norm in our society, as we have witnessed in CMAA.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    miacoyne.

    You could not have read me more incorrectly. Of course, we all know that I can assert my rights as they now exist. Also, I am all for free distribution of any author's work if that is what he/she so chooses. Like people at CMAA have already done. Hurray. It is not a bad thing at all. How did you see where I said otherwise? Again, this maybe a language problem.

    My point with Mr. T. is that Mr. Tucker, seemingly, is for the dismantling of copyright law as we now know it to be. At least that is what I am getting, and he has yet to state otherwise in other challenges to his overall viewpoint in this regard, unless my memory has failed me completely. I would only hope to be wrong here. These laws don't begin and end at the church door, and once the idea of copyright is gone, it is gone for everyone. At that point, the rights you correctly say that I have will no longer exist.

    So in the end, it is not I who would abridge the rights of others to do, or have done with, whatever they wish concerning their own material. Copyright law also has no interest in keeping someone from freely distributing in any way one chooses, including for free, if indeed that is their choice. This should go without saying. (Aha, some would say, but what about publishers? Well, one is free to enlist a publisher for the distribution of one's material or not, and of course publishers will want to protect their investment/rights as they see fit, according to CR protections. So again, one is free to sign or not sign with a publisher). It is Mr. Tucker and those of his way of thinking who would in effect see fit to deprive others of those same rights. He is saying, in effect, that my composition is not a "real thing" but is sort of "in and of the ether," and should be accessible to anyone at anytime without paying for it, and he is not saying that this would apply only to music written for the church.

    Jeffery, of course you know what I mean by "society." I think you run the risk of being seen as disingenuous here. We, as a society, as you well know, elect the people that make the laws, and also the courts get to weigh in. If we don't like aspects of the Bono Act (God rest his soul, and of course I had mentioned this as one of the few truly questionable aspects of the copyright codes, but only by a matter of degree, not in basic principal) we can elect those who would "right the ship." In a democracy, or a democratic republic, that is how things work, and they do indeed work well.. Why do I feel the need to give high school civics lectures to college graduates?
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    In fact, I'm surrounded by people attempting to copy me, since I have no copyright in my services


    JT, I am curious as to how, because even without an actual claim or notice of copyright, one exists in principal. Do you not write for a living? (this is not a challenge, just a request for clarification in ernest - no "aha, gothcha's" at the other end). You are, at least as per your level of acumen, a professional writer. Are you not published with anyone else? If you derive monies from your writing, which would be a good thing, how is that money channeled? Feel free not to answer if this is too much prying, but again, this could be quite informative to everyone, I am sure, as to how this "new model" would actually work in the real world.


    Maybe not related, but I know of few "slackers" receiving royalties, although I am sure we could dig up some examples. But these people that I do know are extremely hard working, and cannot, even some of the more successful, rest on their laurels. So could be a little misleading. And ..

    I will try to end this here, as you are right, this can be boring, but again, the charge at the beginning of the thread "'Egregious' abuse of copyright by Catholic publishers" reads like a headline, and I would assume folks would see that this is just not the case here, and it is a sort of slander, though I am sure not meant as such.

    Let me go on the record as saying that after having attended just one CMAA sponsored event, I am a huge fan and have much respect for the organization, including the fine efforts of Mr. Tucker. I find the compositions here inspiring as well, and the online libraries are stellar, and as well, I appreciate the truly innovative approaches applied to distributing composers' works and the maintaining of control of those same works, meaning, not beholden to publishers. So I truly GET all of that. I think, though, as a professionally run organization advocating for high standards and a re-establishment of respect for tradition, there should be a little more care put into the leveling of charges at certain ancillary church entities and also how advocacy of new ways of conducting business can be construed to present possible harmful - though perhaps unintended - consequences to other professionals who also have an interest in promoting the tradition of the church. I would like the discussion to continue, respectfully of course, as I think the airing of some of these issues is absolutely essential to the organization and those connected to it or influenced by it to move ahead into the twenty first century and remain, (as they already are) truly relevant and cutting edge, but in the right way.
  • I wish I could write for a living! Alas, I'm mostly a working stiff doing technical stuff and shuffling things here and there. But in any case, whenever I do write, I do my best to insist that it be put in Creative Commons, mainly because I don't want to be robbed of my own rights to use my stuff whenever and wherever I want.
  • I no longer understand what's being debated here. I have a feeling everybody's opinion on copyrights depends on precisely WHAT is being copyrighted and what the GOAL of the copyright is.

    1) If we're copyrighting anything to preserve the integrity of a text, everyone agrees that, in this digital age, it is foolish, regardless of whether it might have been reasonable earlier in history. This goes for anything, liturgical, legal, or otherwise.

    2) If we're copyrighting scholarly works by university scholars, instead of distributing them under Open Access licenses, everyone agrees that we are restricting knowledge to those rich enough to pay for journal subscriptions, and are funding the publishing houses and journals rather than the scholars writing the pieces. But, since the journals provide a service, weeding out poor scholarship, for which they -should- be paid, not everyone agrees on how to handle the situation. They are still working out models for keeping journals in business, while freeing up the scholarship. In this situation, the authors' desire for the scholarship to get out there is in conflict with the publishers' right to be paid for filtering and assembly (authors' royalties are largely unimportant).

    3) If we're copyrighting novels, plays, poetry, creative non-fiction, biographies, etc, so that writers can make a living, everyone agrees that copyrights make sense. From the author's perspective, anyone wishing to read the piece in questions can -buy- it, in a reasonable way. For the biggest audience, they can make it available for instant purchase and download online, but free downloads of anything more than a sample would be counterproductive, and the author would be broke.

    4) If the writer of a fiction or non-fiction piece is not primarily concerned with making a living, but with getting the info out there (as, I'd argue, is the case with "Sing Like A Catholic"), then we start overlapping with the "scholarly publications" issues of #2 above.

    5) If the writer of secular song texts or secular song tunes is trying to make a living as a songwriter (like all the folks who write for popular pop musicians), then everyone agrees that copyrights make sense. A songwriter can make a killing if a popular singer picks up his tunes, or his lyrics, or both. And again, who cares if people have to jump through a few hoops to get at the music in the first place? The songwriter will have to balance for himself the risk of obscurity and the risk of bankruptcy, and make some samples available for free, or else he'll never get picked up. But if he doesn't copyright anything, he will not be able to make a living as a songwriter.

    6) If the writer of sacred texts, or 'sacred tunes' (however you might decide distinguish a sacred tune from a secular one) is employed in a salaried composer position, like a university professor would be, then, like a scholar or non-fiction writer, his main goal would be to "get his stuff out there." Like case #2 with the scholar, or case #4 with the non-fiction writer, his best bet is to make things free online and available for print purchase, to maximize the audience. This obviously is the ideal from the stand point of anyone trying to spread "good liturgical music" throughout the Church, and I think we'd all agree.

    7) If the writer of sacred texts or sacred tunes is not so lucky as to be employed in a salaried composer position, then it becomes complicated. Because then, the said composer is living in a difficult mix of the scholarly #2 model, where distribution is deemed the highest good by the author, and model of the secular composer in #5, where obscurity and bankruptcy must be balanced. People of good will, intelligence, and with plenty of background in copyrights and their associated royalties can obviously disagree on what the best action is here. What is at stake?

    a) In an ideal world, should someone be able to make a living by composing liturgical music? (probably yes) Or, should composers of liturgical music aim to be simultaneously otherwise employed in something well-paying, perhaps as a full-time church musician, a secular musician, etc. (ignore whether those jobs are actually well paying. We're talking ideal.)

    b) If you SHOULD be able to make a living as a liturgical composer, should it be sale-based, as with secular songwriters, or should it be subsidized as a valuable service, like with a professor publishing his knowledge for the betterment of mankind? (probably the professor model)

    c) But, since this ISN'T an ideal world, how should we handle it? Since composers generally aren't salaried, and won't be in the near future, is the best compromise to take another job, thus allowing for model 2 to prevail, or is it to make incomes sale-dependent, like with secular songwriters?

    d) Also at stake, just like in the scholarly model #2, is if or how we are going to pay people for filtering out the 'bad' stuff and picking the 'good' stuff so that we don't have to do it ourselves. People appreciate the service of an authority, who will do the filtering, just like a good scholarly journal might. Granted, most of us feel that the publishers aren't doing a very good job of filtering just now, and so we're trying to do it ourselves. The CMAA's solution is partially to filter on a volunteer basis, and partially to enjoy that the community doesn't get a great deal of submissions that would need to be weeded out. If the CMAA website ever became the primary source for Church music distribution in the US, that might not work as well, since this would be the limelight. So the question would stand, can we arrange for filterers to be paid without copyrights and royalties (the same problem scholarly journals are having)?

    Obviously, there is a lot of room there for well-considered, differing opinions.

    Next,
    8) We'd really like to achieve two things, that -might- be mutually exclusive: a) We'd like composers to be paid for their music, and b) we'd like churches to be able to have great music available to their musicians for free, or close to free. Just because a person argues for free music doesn't mean they want to bankrupt composers, and just because a person wants a composer to be paid doesn't mean they want to bankrupt churches. It's just hard or impossible to get both these things done simultaneously. But we like to dream.

    Finally,
    9) These quirky, small changes made to songs, and then copyrighted, whether they be alternate lyrics, slightly changed tunes, or what have you, and whether or not they are proper use of copyright or are spurious ONLY MATTERS in our particular situation. That is to say it only matters because the vast majority of Church musicians do not know that alternatives to the copyrighted music from the Big Publishers exists. They might not ever have heard the phrase "public domain." They trust the authority of the publisher, and might be wary of a text that differs from the Printed Published Version, even if it's free and online. They might not have any idea that they could get a fabulous copy of "Holy God We Praise Thy Name" online for free, and legally make photocopies until they turned blue in the face. They just know that Church musicians, in general, get in big trouble for making photocopies of things. So, if a text or tune has been altered slightly by a publisher, and copyrighted (spuriously or not), or even if the public domain version appears unaltered in a possibly-copyrighted typeset version in a hymnal, they feel obligated to pay the publisher whatever fees are requested for their arrangement, regardless of whether they 'prefer' that altered version or not, if they even know there are alternates. They have no idea they can "take their business elsewhere." So, the problem is more in the ignorance that free, public domain versions exist, than in the existence of copyrighted variations.

    Copyrighted variations are fine, if they can be avoided. But, since people don't know they can be, their existence becomes a problem. The perfect solution is something like the Parish Book of English Hymns.

    I'm hoping these distinctions I make will be useful for later conversations, if there are any. Because it's been clear to me, for these many months, that folks aren't really talking about the same things when they are arguing. Liturgical music can't be exclusively a business, and it can't exclusively be a gift to the Church. And there's no easy middle path.




    In any case, Juhorton, I think any list of changes you are compiling is a fabulous idea, because then we can spread the news that public domain alternatives exist. Apologies for the length of this post.
  • As promised: PDF
  • Even better. When is A Mighty Fortress not?

    PDF
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,349
    Noel's side-by-side comparison of an original text with an altered version highlights one of my concerns about the "alt".

    The dominant publishers present revised versions of hymns without giving their customers the option of preserving the original texts. Younger people never get to learn the original texts, and the material of our community's common memory is lost -- or rather, edited, in Orwellian fashion, to suit the tastes and theological preferences of the hymnal editors. Who made them Pope?

    In practice, that seems to be quite acceptable to Catholics -- at least as evidenced by the fact that parishes keep buying the hymnals and the missal booklets.

    But not everyone is subjected to this manipulation of Christian heritage. Over the weekend I bought a copy of GIA's Congregational hymnal, Songs for a Pilgrim People at a book distributor's warehouse sale. That book presents the hymns intact, placing "inclusive language" alterations and other modifications in a footnote at the bottom of the page. How refreshing that is: actually being honest about the hymn's real text! Showing respect for congregations that want to preserve hymns in their original versions!

    That book was published in fairly close cooperation with a denominational panel, from a denomination I'd never heard of, the NACCC. What clout do they have with GIA that we Catholics don't have?
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    chonak,

    re: GIA and inclusive texts for some and not others, just goes to show the power of the PC movement within the RCC. Just to be clear, I am not in favor, generally speaking, with the tinkering of classics, especially to make them more palatable to certain groups. I just was saying that this has really nothing to do with copyright law, except that it is legal to do that within the PD.

    A lot of the ills we have been experiencing, liturgically speaking, concerning music have been laid at the feet of Catholic publishers. I don't exactly disagree with that, except to to the extent that that would be true, it is mostly the result of those publishers, rightly or wrongly, simply adapting the mores of our times as related to all things liturgical. IOW, they may have "fed" the problem but I don't think they created the beast. In so doing, along the way, they helped in creating this "demand" for new product based on an idea that an "evolving" church needs new music that addresses the new realities they helped create. Promoting new music, everything else being equal, is fine. But, at some point there can be a greed factor entering into some of this. If "tradition," because of greater PD component, equals "less profit" then there really can be a problem if this does not comport with some company's philosophy towards making money vs. upholding the liturgy. This is not an accusation, and I have no direct knowlege or evidence to this effect, but it is not implausible that this is at play. It is also plausible, even more probable, that amongst these companies are represented a lot of "true believers" in the modernist liturgical movement, and so it is a natural thing to promote a music that comports to that reality. Copyright law, by itself, plays a very minor role, if any, in all of this.

    The church herself never applied the brakes to this(undermining of tradition) until recently with the new pope more fully in control of the dialog and legislation regarding the church's liturgy. So change is coming. Let us learn something from all of this, so the same mistakes might not ensue. Allowing for a greater access to tradition sets the stage for more Public Domain music being employed, so at some point that lowers the final amount spent by the individual parish on music. Let us allow for legitimate channels for the composers of new setting and compositions to reap the just rewards of their labors, without the need to go into complete and crass "self promotion" mode, something I see creeping into this realm already, and I will leave it there.
  • I know the whole copyright thing is a large can of worms, but I'm extraordinarily grateful that this collection of hymns is going to open up so many avenues for us parish musicians.

    Now, here is my question in a nutshell: Take "Faith of Our Fathers," as printed in the 2009 OCP Breaking Bread missallette. The notation underneath reads as follows: Text: 88 88 88; Frederick W. Faber, 1813-1863, alt. Music: Henry F. Hemy, 1818-1888; adapt. by James G. Walton, 1821-1905.

    (No copyright symbol there)

    1. Would it or would it not be legal to make a copy of this out of the book, given that on page 2 of the book it reads "© 2008 OCP"

    2. Would it be legal to do another typeset of the hymn with the same altered text?

    Thank you!
  • Questions like these really have no answers. We make a mistake in thinking that somehow all these symbols represent well-consider legal or scientific proclamations. It's just part of the modern IP disease, slapping copyrights on everything and anything with no clue what it means. The stories I could tell! The abuses are egregious but most of the sloppiness results from grave ignorance.
  • So is this one of those things that comes down to "Do what you dare, and pray you're not sued?"

    BTW, what does IP stand for?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,349
    IP is "intellectual property".

    1. The typesetting, or rather engraving, of the music is OCP's own work, and they hold a copyright on that, so I think it is not permitted to photocopy any of the typeset music in the booklet without permission, even if the music itself is PD (in the public domain).

    2. I think the copyright claim should be treated as covering everything in the book except (a) unaltered public domain material; and (b) material attributed to other copyright holders. Under that reading, you shouldn't make an original typeset version of the altered hymn, unless you have evidence that the altered text is itself PD.
  • Thanks chonak. By the way, I am still planning on looking through to see if there is in fact any "unaltered public domain material" in this book (over 900 items). From what I've seen so far, I rather doubt it! I'll keep everyone updated, since I know you're waiting in eager expectation...;-)
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    Here's the score for "Faith of Our Fathers" with "public domain" etched where you might normally see copyright. there is a print button, so go ahead a print baby, print.

    http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Faith_of_Our_Fathers/score/

    Juhorton: the 88 88 88 is the "meter" (lines up with the syllables) of the text, making it interchangeable with other hymn "tunes" with the same meter. the other dates are births and deaths of the authors, fairly obvious and no copyright because if a song is that old, it can be safely assumed to be in the PD.

    Now, as of 1998, copyright of songs published after 1978 is the life of the author plus 70 years, (This 1998 addition to the copyright law, also known as the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, Sonny Bono Act, or pejoratively as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, effectively 'froze' the advancement date of the public domain in the United States for works covered by the older fixed term copyright rules - and, not coincidentally, just as Mickey was himself was on the brink of passing into the PD, an occurrence Disney could not countenance) just upped from plus 50 years, a fact which irks Mr. Tucker to no end and no doubt keeps him up late at night not able to sleep. Copyright on songs published prior to 1978 are now protected to 95 years total from the date of publication, so published before 1913-14 would be now in the public domain. Hooray! So the idea is one can hand on something to one's kids, so I think that is kind of nice.
  • Yes, pass it on to kids to they too can live off a monopoly privilege, even from something they did not do! Actually, in fact, kids are the worst at rights management. Most don't care a flying flip about the circulation of their parent''s work. The kids are right now killing many books published in the 20th century, keeping them off the market in hopes of big bucks that never arrive. I've spent many hours trying to talk sense into many of this blooming fools.
  • Question here - maybe should be posted on other threads. Hymns by Faber, Caswall, and other Catholic priests are all listed in The Hymnal 1940 with their names only. For Episcopalians, using hymn-texts by those who actually LEFT the Anglican Communion, that makes PC sense. But shouldn't we use their titles when listing them as authors/composers? Or is it a common practice in publishing circles not to include such pertinent information or show respect for their office?
  • The hymn sources being used vary in attribution from:

    The Rev. Frederick W. Faber to Faber.

    At this point existing information directly from the source is posted, full, consistent information to be added, and titles are planned. Good question, positively stated.

    Some sources show nothing. These hymns will not be eliminated, but posted if they have value.