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Often a complex and mind-boggling arena, I've had to learn the hard way how this works in relation to composing and arranging music. It has to be said that it's fairly obvious that the person or company who 'owns' a piece of music - for whatever reason - has to be the person or company that gives permission for it to be used in any other format than its original, and this is certainly true of arrangements of existing music. I know that there are thousands of illegal copies of music out there, and I also know that it is very difficult to police.

That aside, it has come to my attention that there are people out there who think it is quite in order to build up complete libraries of music by illegally copying and then scanning music onto computers to pass on to others in PDF fornat, presumably with the permission of whoever obtained the original printed copy of that music (or second/third/fourth generation 'illegal' copy I suppose). They are the only winners in this situation: the composer or copyright owner gets nothing, and neither do the publishers of the printed works.

As a composer and arranger relatively new to the intricacies of copyright law, I was amazed to find that illegal copies of my own works published or unpublished frequently turn up in many unexpected places. Some of these pieces were only printed and taken to a single band to see if the piece actually worked, and are as such without copyright permission. I have to say I'm not sure what my position in court would be with that. I certainly have not given my permission for the work to be copied and then passed on.

The bottom line is this. Why should composers, arrangers and publishers be the ones who lose out because of the deep seated desire of others to get printed music for free? Why is it that people who try and make a living out of music in its many forms are frequently expected to do so for free? I just don't get it. No one expects plumbers, electricians, bankers, bakers, mechanics, nurses, policemen, soldiers and so on to do their jobs for free, so why musicians? The net result of this illegal activity will be that there won't be any new music for you - not legally in any case - and you'll all be moaning about playing the same old stuff, and people like me will stop writing any new music.

So, if you know someone who's doing this - tell them. If you or your band have any of my music that you have obtained illegally - look out. That also goes for bands who have properly obtained my music but are happy to allow it to be illegally copied and given to other bands. As you can probably tell, I'm very unhappy about this and I will take it further. I am currently considering making a formal complaint to the Council of West of England Brass Band Associations and other band associations on the subject. I'm now on a mission.

Think of it this way: everytime you illegally copy a piece of my music, you're 'stealing' about £50 from me. Everytime you give a score and set of parts to someone else you're 'stealing' about £50 from me. It soon adds up, and publishers take a very dim view of it. So do I.

So, if you want new printed music - buy it.

Check your libraries and your consciences.

You have been warned.


 

Testimonials

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Exmouth Musical Theatre Company

A quick thank you to Colin - behind the scenes of our production of Jesus Christ Superstar recently, Colin edited, re-wrote or created some terrific rehearsal backing tracks to ease the path to the show's success. Nothing was too much trouble, and the end product (I know how awkward it was to achieve) was very professional - even though we kept asking for more! He wasn't bad in the pit orchestra on the drums either! Thanks Colin.

Sounds of The Sixties

Colin's arrangements of our medleys for full orchestra from piano score were excellent, original and creatively scored, and stood up to theatre use to enhance dramatically the quality of our production - many thanks Colin!

Exmouth Musical Theatre Company

Jesus Christ Superstar

A quick thank you for Colin. Behind the scenes of our recent production of Jesus Christ Superstar, Colin produced, edited, arranged, wrote or re-wrote rehearsal backing tracks to assist our production team towards the eventual success of the show. Nothing was too much trouble, despite our requests for tempo amendments! Thanks Colin - and you weren't bad on the drums in the pit orchestra either!

Pinocchio!

A massive thanks Colin - you worked like a demon to produce the score and parts for our pantomine Pinocchio in Ilminster from scant, hand-written scraps of paper. The end product was extremely professional at a very reasonable cost - even though the trumpet player complained about the triplets! Many, many thanks.

Midnight in Moscow

Hi Colin, Thought you'd like to know, Midnight in Moscow for trombone trio has had two public airings by our band so far, and both went down very well; first in a concert, then in an entertainment contest (which we won!). Great arrangement - liked by all. Thank you! Best wishes Colin Coates

Wired @ Exmouth 2011

Hi guys - saw Wired at The First and Last in Exmouth a year or so back, and apart from loving the yellow drum kit, I thought Colin's drumming was fantastic!  He put so much into it - rather like Keith Moon of The Who fame, and lifted the whole performance as a result - very tight and very professional. I love drummers that go that extra mile - nice one Colin - and a great site too!

One Life Music (Dan Callow)

Colin Dance has worked sensitively and professionally with us over the last few years arranging scores for our recent assembly book and for one off commissions, always considering the mood or relevance of a piece and succeeding in our endeavour to keep each piece unique. He has arranged songs for piano as well as writing further parts for voice or for a particular instrument or ensemble. I would be more than happy to recommend 'Dance is With Music' services. Dan Callow www.onelifemusic.co.uk

City of Exeter Railway Band

What a breath of fresh air! I witnessed Colin conducting the City of Exeter Railway Band in the Manor Gardens at Exmouth  last summer, and not only was I impressed by his ability as a musician and conductor, but also by the way he communicated with his players. He clearly put them at ease and brought the best out in them.  A lovely concert with good humour and humility - and, I might add, some seriosuly good arrangements and compositions by Colin too.

Midnight in Moscow - the sequel

Hi Colin, Thought you'd like to know we've enjoyed many successful airings of Midnight in Moscow throughout the year, including several concerts, park engagements and an entertainment contest (which we won!). Most recent was a golf club Xmas party last night - went down a storm! Thanks for an excellent piece - appreciated by all. Merry Xmas and Happy New Year from CWA Brass

Hawkes 'Clippertone' trumpet

Can I just once again say what a fantastic job you did with my ancient (Hawkes & Co 'Clippertone)' trumpet - it's very impressive indeed, and my grandson is absolutely delighted with his Christmas present. He didn't stop playing it the whole time he was here (!) and has now taken the trumpet back to America with him and will be having lessons on his return to school. I can't thank you enough. The difference in the condition in which you received the instrument to how it was when I received it back is amazing. Thank you so much -...

Harry Rossiter

Colin is a very versatile musician, composer, music arranger and musical director. As a sideline he is engaged in repair and care of brass bånd instruments and other musical artifacts. His musical direction of brass bands is second to none in my long experience of brass bands. I wish him well.

Trumpet servicing

Many thanks for the swift and professional repair and service on my trumpet (Bach Strad). I have had the instrument for a little over 5 years now and and bought it from my brother-in-law who I know looked after it very well so I was starting to feel a little guilty about neglecting it. It always seemed like too much of a chore given the apparent lack of people in Exeter who can service and repair brass instruments. The stuck tuning slide was the final straw and I was very relieved to find your website. It was all so easy...

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