May 27, 2005 · Lessig
Hyperion Records is one of the very best independent classical labels. According to its news page which is now up, it’s lost an appeal which will now jeapordize its existence. Hyperion was sued by Dr. Lionel Sawkins, who had created a performance edition of four works by Lalande. The British court has now concluded that a performance edition, even one that does not claim to be an “arrangement,” is copyrighted. Apparently, the “sweat of the brow” in producing the performance edition was enough to create an “original” work.
The British system shifts costs to the loser. That means the exposure could be “hundreds of thousands of pounds if not a million.” Most charitably, this is a close question. If you believe that this label should not go bankrupt just because they tried to defend the side they defended, you may think about offering some support.