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Sawkins v Hyperion Records Ltd

[2005] EWCA Civ 565

Case summary last updated at 28/01/2020 17:12 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Sawkins v Hyperion Records Ltd

C, a musicologist, did research into the out of copyright music of a French composer from 1600s, Lalande. C had found the music, made corrections and additions to pieces to make them playable, amended bass lines and corrected wrong notes. D, Hyperion, released an album upon which recordings of Lalande’s work based upon C’s scores had been made. D paid C a fee for providing the scores, but refused to pay royalties on grounds that an editor had not created a ‘musical work’. Held:
First line of reasoning
·        Subsistence of copyright requires an assessment of the whole of work over which copyright is claimed.
·        ‘Musical works’ includes not only the music, but any other elements which contribute towards sound of music when played
Ø  Thus the tempos, performing indications could be covered by musical copyright.
Ø  Provided they are a product of C’s ‘effort and skill’

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