Copyright Issues and Steel-band Music

Over the years , I’ve posted a number of music videos on YouTube , and have gotten many copyright alerts.
These are just alerts , however and I’m usually told I need do nothing , since my posts are not monetized by me.
Since I do not monetize or profit from anything I post, the claimant can monetize the video if he wishes , with no problem frim me.
I’m only interested in promoting the culture , and I can only hope the right people are reaping whatever financial benefits there are.
Interestingly though, only one of my videos was pulled from YouTube by the composer’s representatives due to copyright , and it had nothing to do with money.
The tune in question was Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” performed by the steelband “Pamberi” in Trinidad at a Music festival competition held in 1986.
I contacted the lawfirm that issued the copyright out of curiosity , and this was their response:
” Permission is required to not only to create a musical arrangement but also to reproduce, distribute and exploit that arrangement. It has come to our attention that there are several unauthorized uses by the Pamberi Steel Orchestra for Rite of Spring, including the creation of the Arrangement of the composition (performed in Trinidad in 1986), and its subsequent recording, reproduction and release as part of an album, available in physical copy and digital formats for distribution worldwide.
The unauthorized Arrangement is found on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify, among others. In addition, as you know, we have sent a notice to YouTube.”
This was a number of years ago , but it was something I never considered , how composers and others feel about their music being reproduced on pan.
What I found most interesting was the lawyers assertion that the actual PLAYING of the piece on the steel-pan was the violation , since that was considered an unauthorized arrangement , and contrary to the copyright instructions left by the composer.
I think this may be of interest to pan people.

One thought on “Copyright Issues and Steel-band Music

  1. I’m a classical orchestral musician in Asia, far removed from the culture of Trinad, but I remember this video. It was inspiring and a huge accomplishment – I love the old videos of steel-pan orchestras playing classical arrangements. Us classical professionals perform with quite a small amount of rehearsal and work – it definitely takes skill, but sometimes feels shallow. I can hear the effort and work that went into the steel-pan performances – so much memorization and carefully rehearsed phrasing!

    You aren’t the only one to have an issue like this.

    Unfortunately it’s quite common for the descendents of classical composers to be very petty about copyright – they love to squeeze juice out of a stone, and Stravinsky himself famously disallowed arrangements – he was a rather disagreeable man. It’s a great pity the world can’t see this performance.


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