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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

August 30, 2019

Farewell to Calamus

evelyn @ 3:51 pm

Copyright, as all musicians know, is a minefield, and for many years now Calamus, an offshoot of Decani Music, has guided our steps through it, with understanding and incredible flexibility.

Copyright needs can vary and Calamus was able to adapt its system and offer a price that exactly fitted any particular need. In my case, mainly with diocesan work, it was a question of choral parts to hymns, which could be gathered from a number of different hymn books, with an even greater number of copyright holders. If these were on the Calamus list, Calamus would give us a price and process the entire transaction. They even helped out when we didn’t know how many copies we would need for a particular event – many people would turn up without booking in spite of all our pleas. In these cases, they allowed us to tell them after the event how many copies we had given out, and, unlike some publishers, trusted us to destroy any left over copies. A personal, kindly service.

And now they have gone – taken over by an American company, One License. The first thing I did was contact One License to find out about choral copies, only to be told they didn’t deal in choral music, only in congregational melody line and words. So that was that.

Now my colleagues and I have to do some serious thinking. There is definitely a back-to-square-one feeling about the copyright problem.

Anyway, grateful thanks to Calamus for three decades of smoothing the copyright path. We’ll miss you.




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