Redwood Music Ltd v Chappell and Co Ltd: ChD 1982

It was submitted that an arrangement of an existing musical work only attracted a separate copyright if it involved great skill and labour. After referring to the University of London Press Limited, the court held: ‘That passage was cited with approval in the House of Lords in Ladbroke (Football) Ltd. v. William Hill (Football) Ltd [1964] 1 W.L.R. 273 at pp. 277-78 per Lord Reid, where he stated that there was no dispute about the meaning of the term ‘original’. It is on this basis, of course, that there may be copyright in works of a comparatively humdrum nature, such as straightforward translations; though of course such copyright may be of little value, because another such work may be produced without difficulty, without recourse to the copyright work. I should add that the decision in Wood v. Boosey, relied on by Mr Bateson, although decided before the Copyright Act 1911 and not therefore decided as a matter of construction of the statutory words ‘original work’, is in my judgement consistent with the test proposed by Peterson J. The case was concerned with the question whether a piano reduction by Brissler of Nicolai’s opera The Merry Wives of Windsor attracted a separate copyright in the arrangement, or whether the copyright in the piano reduction belonged to the owner of the copyright in the original opera. In holding that the piano reduction was an independent composition in which the arranger, as author, owned the copyright, the Court of Exchequer Chamber considered the questions whether it was ‘a new and substantive work in itself’, or whether there was ‘something in the nature of authorship in Brissler’ – tests at least consistent with that now adopted in relation to the statutory definition under the Acts of 1911 and 1956.’

Robert Goff J
[1982] RPC 109
England and Wales
CitedUniversity of London Press Ltd v University Tutorial Press Ltd ChD 1916
In a copyright claim, the test of originality which had to be passed was set out by Peterson J, saying: ‘The word ‘original’ does not in this connection mean that the work must be the expression of original or inventive thought. Copyright Acts are . .
CitedLadbroke (Football) Ltd v William Hill (Football) Ltd HL 1964
What is substantial copying
The plaintiff alleged copying of their football pools coupons and copyright infringement. The issues were as to the extent of copying required to establish infringement, and whether it was proper to look at the several parts of the work separately. . .

Cited by:
CitedSawkins v Hyperion Records Limited ChD 5-Jul-2004
The claimant had edited ancient music scores so as to be ready for performance for the defendant. He asserted a copyright. The defendants argued that the contribution was too little to create a copyright.
Held: To succeed Dr Sawkins had to . .
CitedFisher v Brooker and Another ChD 20-Dec-2006
The claimant said that he had contributed to the copyright in the song ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ but had been denied royalties. He had played the organ and particularly the organ solo which had contrbuted significantly to the fame of the record.
CitedHodgens v Beckingham CA 19-Feb-2003
The defendant appealed a finding of infringement in a music copyright work, ‘Young at Heart’, based on a claim of joint authorship. The claimant had delayed his claim for many years, but now sought only rights to future royalties.
Held: The . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Intellectual Property

Updated: 28 November 2021; Ref: scu.199977