Using arrangements based on non-copyright material
PRS for Music regards some instances of arrangements based on non-copyright material as un-payable. These include:
- Transpositions (changing the music from one key to another)
- Tape editing (removing blocks of the original work)
- Performance instructions (including phrasing, dynamics, fingering)
- Transcriptions from one method of notation to another
Arrangements based on copyright material
The copyright owner of the original copyright material must give their permission for the arrangement. Once permission is granted the original copyright owner, not the arranger, will register the arrangement with PRS for Music.
Folk music – the transcription holds the copyright
Copyright law states that if you write down a traditional song, this transcription becomes a copyright work. The copyright lies in the transcription and not in the traditional song.
This means the transcription is copyright. It may not be copied, reproduced, published, publicly performed or adapted unless permission is obtained from the transcriber. However, this does not prevent people from transcribing from the same source. By doing this they create their own copyright - even if their transcription is note for note the same as an existing transcription.