Organist’ s contract

2

Comments

  • Puzzler wrote: »
    Thanks to TheOrganist for some extra help.

    A question for anyone who can help:
    re wedding fees, is it usual for the organist to be paid an increased amount every time for recordings, on the assumption that guests are going to record on their mobile phones, so not just if a professional video is made?

    I hope that makes sense.

    I have never known a church where this happens
  • An organist (and choir where applicable, and/or other musicians) own the copyright of their performance at a wedding or funeral/ memorial service, .....
    As a simple statement, that is not as correct as many musicians would like it to be. It is a grey area.

    If I hire somebody to produce a work of art (book, painting, piece of music etc) for me, with a fee, the starting position, unless agreed otherwise, will be that as I commissioned it and paid for it, I will own the intellectual property, not the artist. So, depending on what (if anything) has been specifically agreed, and who did the agreeing, such intellectual property as exists in the music played at a wedding may belong to the parish, the couple or the person playing.

    The only thing that can be said with an element of probable certainty, is that if a friend offers to sing at a wedding, the intellectual property in that performance will be his or hers.

    The one way to make the situation as you assert it to be, will be if you make it clear - in writing - that you only play on the basis that that is the deal and nobody involved in that event has questioned it.
  • Puzzler wrote: »
    Thanks, all. Agreed, but Watch This Space.

    New Rector has said if we don’t like the changes he has made, then maybe we should consider whether it is the right church for us.
    No matter that we have all been here longer than him, that our traditions have been established for many a year, that it is the only Anglican Church in the town.

    I think I'll reserve judgement until I hear the Rector's take on the circumstances - in the interests of balance of course, (and having been in the situation where anything but anything was veteod automatically, even safeguarding matters).
  • (and having been in the situation where anything but anything was veteod automatically, even safeguarding matters).
    By whom?

  • Enoch wrote: »
    An organist (and choir where applicable, and/or other musicians) own the copyright of their performance at a wedding or funeral/ memorial service, .....
    As a simple statement, that is not as correct as many musicians would like it to be. It is a grey area.

    If I hire somebody to produce a work of art (book, painting, piece of music etc) for me, with a fee, the starting position, unless agreed otherwise, will be that as I commissioned it and paid for it, I will own the intellectual property, not the artist. So, depending on what (if anything) has been specifically agreed, and who did the agreeing, such intellectual property as exists in the music played at a wedding may belong to the parish, the couple or the person playing.

    The only thing that can be said with an element of probable certainty, is that if a friend offers to sing at a wedding, the intellectual property in that performance will be his or hers.

    The one way to make the situation as you assert it to be, will be if you make it clear - in writing - that you only play on the basis that that is the deal and nobody involved in that event has questioned it.
    It has long been accepted that the case is as I explained it. That is why a standard BBC contract for, say, Choral Evensong includes a waiver for every musician and the cathedral or collegiate church where the service is from that by agreeing the terms in the contract they are signing away their copyright to the BBC as broadcaster.

    The case you give (of commissioning a book) will only work if the author, photographer, etc, have a contract and remuneration which includes them signing away their copyright: I have siblings who write, both under their own name and for other publications which have a number of contributors.

    Where a parish can make a claim for owning copyright is in what takes place at a regular scheduled service: weddings and funerals don't come into that category.

    Yes, if a friend sings at a wedding they will own the copyright but if they are accompanied by the organist then the copyright for the performance will be shared between them.

    Yes, a church should make it clear that the copyright for the musical part of any service rests with the musician(s) - my place does.
  • Puzzler wrote: »
    Thanks, all. Agreed, but Watch This Space.

    New Rector has said if we don’t like the changes he has made, then maybe we should consider whether it is the right church for us.
    No matter that we have all been here longer than him, that our traditions have been established for many a year, that it is the only Anglican Church in the town.
    Good grief!

    Has he said this in front of people who are prepared to stand up and repeat it to, say, an Archdeacon? I ask this because, IME, this is pure and simple bullying.

    I hesitate to say that you should involve the AD because my experience is that they'll call a meeting, declare themselves to be impartial, sit there and give a good impression of Pilate and then do precisely nothing except watch the Rector carry on with his behaviour, regardless of how many people the church loses. I've watched this happen in a church where they lost 90% of their choir and 50% of their congregation and the AD did ... nothing.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host

    Sad, but unbelievably true, TheOrganist :'(
  • (and having been in the situation where anything but anything was veteod automatically, even safeguarding matters).
    By whom?

    The church meeting led by a group of persuasive individuals who didn't want to be - as they claimed - "social workers"
  • Good grief!
  • It has long been accepted that the case is as I explained it. That is why a standard BBC contract for, say, Choral Evensong includes a waiver for every musician and the cathedral or collegiate church where the service is from that by agreeing the terms in the contract they are signing away their copyright to the BBC as broadcaster.

    The case you give (of commissioning a book) will only work if the author, photographer, etc, have a contract and remuneration which includes them signing away their copyright: I have siblings who write, both under their own name and for other publications which have a number of contributors.

    Where a parish can make a claim for owning copyright is in what takes place at a regular scheduled service: weddings and funerals don't come into that category.

    Yes, if a friend sings at a wedding they will own the copyright but if they are accompanied by the organist then the copyright for the performance will be shared between them.

    Yes, a church should make it clear that the copyright for the musical part of any service rests with the musician(s) - my place does.
    I would still, nevertheless, strongly advise against relying on the statement 'it has long been accepted that ...'. The reason why the BBC contract includes those provisions will be so as to prevent arguments and make it clear who is going to get the copyright.

    There was a lot of discussion earlier on this thread about whether an organist was an employee or self-employed. Irrespective of our standing disagreement about commissioning, if a person does something as part of their employment contract, the presumption, unless expressly agreed otherwise, will be that any intellectual property their labours generate, are the employer's.


    If it's any help, this is a field where when disputes do arise, they tend to get very acrimonious because both parties think it is obvious that the moral righteousness is on their side and that the other one is totally unreasonable and wickedly trying to use the law to defraud them.
  • The intellectual property maybe, but not the copyright: copyright can only originally belong to the person who writes the book, composes the song, or plays the organ: they can sign over their rights to copyright, but the original copyright is theirs because they are the only person who can create the thing, book, song, performance, etc.

    And a copyright licence has nothing whatsoever to do with intellectual property because no one is trying to sell the rights in perpetuity to anything in the case of a wedding; what they are trying to protect is the one-time-only performance.
  • Copyright in the UK. IANAL but note that copyright in the work (created, written, composed, whatever) and copyright in the broadcast are distinct. If the BBC made the recording then they will own the copyright in that recording too (I think).

    Hope that helps rather than confuses. Your diocese/head office ought to be able to confim.
  • Copyright is one variety of intellectual property (IP) among many. A licence is a permission to use the IP of another. If there are no rights in any IP, there is nothing to be licensed. One can only license what is either yours, or what the owner has given you authority to license.

    As I've already explained, if one generates some IP as part of one's employment, unless expressly agreed otherwise, the IP usually belongs to one's employer.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    Copyright is one variety of intellectual property (IP) among many. A licence is a permission to use the IP of another. If there are no rights in any IP, there is nothing to be licensed. One can only license what is either yours, or what the owner has given you authority to license.

    As I've already explained, if one generates some IP as part of one's employment, unless expressly agreed otherwise, the IP usually belongs to one's employer.

    Totally agree with all this and with Enoch's earlier posts about the entitlement of employers to work produced in the course of employment, at least here and I'd assume in England as well - don't know about Scotland. That's why it's essential to look at the contract and see on which side of the divide it falls.
  • Puzzler wrote: »
    However, the music director is more likely to just leave quietly, I am sure, rather than take it to Tribunal, though he would rather stay under the old T & C.
    And I guess our new incumbent will welcome a change of direction, musically.
    There is bound to be collateral damage, however.


    Update.
    The organist did not need to go to Tribunal as it was agreed that the old contract should prevail, after taking legal advice. However as his position became untenable, he has now left, after giving due notice of course.

    The incumbent stated he does not believe in paid organists , except for weddings and funerals, so there will be no advert for a replacement.

    Further changes to services are planned which are likely to make an organist redundant. The choir is under threat. Meanwhile we have people who can help out.
    And so my predictions of last summer were correct, and years of a long musical tradition come to a sad end.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    ...Before anyone starts to foam at the mouth, the average high street wedding dress in the UK now coming in at nearly £800, and that doesn't include veil, shoes, etc, etc, etc.
    Thank you. When I was a professional singer, I was always amazed by all of the people who thought nothing of spending thousands on flowers but objected to anything over the low two figures for vocal music.



  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    I beg your pardon - I didn't notice when this thread began, and by the time I did, it was too late to delete it.
  • Don’t worry, Rossweisse, valid point, thank you. Professional musicians are undervalued by the uneducated.

    I resurrected the thread today myself as OP because of recent developments.

    Incidentally our new wedding fees have been set at £75. Cheap at the price for a professional organist, but I am not sure that our stand-ins merit that figure.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Thanks, Puzzler.
  • Puzzler wrote: »
    Thanks, all. Agreed, but Watch This Space.

    New Rector has said if we don’t like the changes he has made, then maybe we should consider whether it is the right church for us.
    No matter that we have all been here longer than him, that our traditions have been established for many a year, that it is the only Anglican Church in the town.

    I would be tempted to suggest that you might want to ask him if it was the right church for him.

    This is spiritually abusive behaviour and should be reported to the Archdeacon. While the Archdeacon might not do much about it, it's important to put these things on the record. I was in a similar situation some years back and decided not to make a stink of a few of the initial problems, as did others in the parish; he likely assumed that there would never be any pushback, and so he simply ratcheted up his approach until a crisis point was reached. In the best of circumstances, he will reflect on his behaviour and change.
  • How very sad.

    If the new PP suggests that the choir music should go you and the rest of the PCC should remind him that it is one of the church's assets and, as a registered charity, you are duty bound to dispose of it so as to realise any possible monetary value. In other words, just shoving it in a skip is not the way to go... :naughty:
  • Thanks for that thought, TheOrganist. Fortunately we are not quite at that stage yet.
    The incumbent had a meeting with the choir, who are far from happy. They want to wear robes and do not want to be told they can’t ( he does not consider robes appropriate for AllAge worship, and that’s the way he wants to go, to attract young families.)
    Actually I am encouraged that the mother of one of our choristers is indignant and thinking of writing to the Bishop. Her son loves the more formal services and hates AllAge worship!
    A couple of difficult weeks ahead, methinks.
  • DardaDarda Shipmate
    Interesting point about the chorister liking more formal services. When there is a "fifth Sunday", our youth group often lead the morning service and usually choose traditional hymns.
  • Is that, though, because they like them, because they think the rest of the folk will like them, or because the musician(s) can/will play nothing else?
  • Probably more because they enjoy singing them and don't know a whole lot of contemporary ones that are as singable.

    Puzzler, every time I read something about this situation, I feel like the parish priest is paying too much attention to the presidential leadership coming from the USA. Seems to me like the Archdeacon should certainly be aware of what is going on. I'd be having a nice chat over lunch with him/her asap, if only to give a "heads up" or to confirm what others have likely already alerted to.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Is that, though, because they like them, because they think the rest of the folk will like them, or because the musician(s) can/will play nothing else?
    Don't overlook the fact that quite young people can discern the difference between musical (and liturgical) quality and the lack thereof. I started out as a chorister in an Episcopal children's choir at the age of 8, and, as a consequence, hewed to The Good Stuff. My children rejected happy-clappy out of hand, because - even as kidlets - they knew better.


  • Darda wrote: »
    Interesting point about the chorister liking more formal services. When there is a "fifth Sunday", our youth group often lead the morning service and usually choose traditional hymns.

    I used to be a member of a church with two weekly services, an informal all age service and a traditional service. We had older people going to the all age and young people to the traditional one, it was a matter of personal preference and not age.
  • Perhaps we're all speculating (and, perhaps, revealing our personal prejudices) too much. Perhaps the best way of finding out would be to ask them.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Wow! That's an idea!
  • I was in fact being serious - too often IME in church life, adults make assumptions about "what young people like" without actually consulting them.
  • Indeed. And why not ask open questions instead of presenting fixed options, with red lines drawn.
  • Oh sorry, we don’t have a deadline of 29 March, we have not had a referendum or any official, verifiable consultation, and decisions taken will not affect other countries churches.
  • DardaDarda Shipmate
    Perhaps we're all speculating (and, perhaps, revealing our personal prejudices) too much. Perhaps the best way of finding out would be to ask them.

    Good point! I'm not personally involved with the youth group myself, but will have a word with their leaders. On second thoughts, much better if I speak to some of the youngsters directly to show that us oldies do take an interest in them.
  • Precisely that!
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    Hosting
    Sniff.
    Is that a tangent that I smell? Perhaps even the rotting flesh of a ceased to be equus?
    Jus' sayin'
    /hosting
  • DardaDarda Shipmate
    Zappa wrote: »
    Hosting
    Sniff.
    Is that a tangent that I smell? Perhaps even the rotting flesh of a ceased to be equus?
    Jus' sayin'
    /hosting

    Point taken. Will allow discussion to continue within circumference defined by OP.
  • Yes indeed.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    edited January 2019
    Puzzler wrote: »
    ... The incumbent stated he does not believe in paid organists, except for weddings and funerals ...
    Bloody hell!!!

    How does he feel about unpaid clergy? :naughty:

    I'm so sorry to hear it's come to that - what a rotten thing to happen to your organist, your choir and your church as a whole.
  • Quite, Piglet! I wasn’t quick enough to make that point about selective paid ministry at the time.
    He said that the amount saved will go a little way towards paying our Parish share which we have not managed to pay in full the last couple of years.

    Thanks for your sympathy. We have a final vote at the next PCC re patterns of worship, but he had already stated in a handout to the congregation that the PCC favours the no robed choir option. So manipulative. There is no defined way of obtaining congregational feedback, apart from “ come and speak to me”, but people who do report that he doesn’t listen, or just says we need to change, and mustn’t hang on to the past or simply consider our own needs.....
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Puzzler wrote: »
    ... We have a final vote at the next PCC re patterns of worship, but he had already stated in a handout to the congregation that the PCC favours the no robed choir option. So manipulative. There is no defined way of obtaining congregational feedback, apart from “ come and speak to me”, but people who do report that he doesn’t listen, or just says we need to change, and mustn’t hang on to the past or simply consider our own needs.....
    He sounds rather like a reverend version of Mrs May.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Enoch wrote: »
    He sounds rather like a reverend version of Mrs May.
    Quite! :mrgreen:

    I hope to goodness he never gets made a dean or a bishop.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited January 2019
    Enoch wrote: »
    He sounds rather like a reverend version of Mrs May.
    [BT shudders at the mere thought ...]

    Or an Archdeacon (aren't they reputedly the worst? As a Baptist, I wouldn't know!)
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    That's all just horrible. How did you get stuck with this jerk?
  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    That's all just horrible. How did you get stuck with this jerk?

    Even better question: what's going wrong somewhere between a BAP, theological college and a curacy that this specimen of Anglican priesthood was given charge of a parish?
  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    That's all just horrible. How did you get stuck with this jerk?

    Even better question: what's going wrong somewhere between a BAP, theological college and a curacy that this specimen of Anglican priesthood was given charge of a parish?
    There's two (or more) sides to most arguments. Worship issues can be some of the worst in drawing lines in the sand. Are we really sure we know all that there might be known about this?

  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    That's all just horrible. How did you get stuck with this jerk?

    Even better question: what's going wrong somewhere between a BAP, theological college and a curacy that this specimen of Anglican priesthood was given charge of a parish?
    There's two (or more) sides to most arguments. Worship issues can be some of the worst in drawing lines in the sand. Are we really sure we know all that there might be known about this?

    The question I was thinking was. How did someone of his churchmanship get appointed to a very liturgical parish with a choir and organ music tradition?
  • Puzzler wrote: »
    Quite, Piglet! I wasn’t quick enough to make that point about selective paid ministry at the time.
    He said that the amount saved will go a little way towards paying our Parish share which we have not managed to pay in full the last couple of years.
    Perhaps someone needs to remind him that if he doesn’t listen to the congregation and drives much of it away, he’s going to have a challenge paying for more than just the parish share.
    We have a final vote at the next PCC re patterns of worship, but he had already stated in a handout to the congregation that the PCC favours the no robed choir option. So manipulative. There is no defined way of obtaining congregational feedback, apart from “come and speak to me”, but people who do report that he doesn’t listen, or just says we need to change, and mustn’t hang on to the past or simply consider our own needs.....
    I’m quite out my depth here, not being CofE or even Anglican, so perhaps I’m way off base. But does the PCC have any leverage at all? Could it, for example, arrange for some formal way to get the congregation’s feedback—a survey or a listening session hosted by the PCC. Could it do that over the incumbant’s wishes?

    Can it at least say to him “the people the parish say that when they talk with you, they don’t feel listened to”?

    What happens if the PCC does not vote in accordance with the incumbant’s wishes? If, for example, it does not vote for a no-robed choir.
  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    That's all just horrible. How did you get stuck with this jerk?

    Even better question: what's going wrong somewhere between a BAP, theological college and a curacy that this specimen of Anglican priesthood was given charge of a parish?
    There's two (or more) sides to most arguments. Worship issues can be some of the worst in drawing lines in the sand. Are we really sure we know all that there might be known about this?

    Sure. I rather thought "assuming the information we have is a true reflection of the situation" was a given.
  • I can guarantee that all information I have given is factually correct.
    I am unwilling to go into how the detailed background of the vacancy and the appointment process here, although I was closely involved. Suffice it to say that prayers were made and various procedures occurred and at the end of the day one trusts that the right person is appointed.

    Of course, not everyone will share my opinions as to the wisdom of the various decisions and actions that have occurred.

    It is a matter of extreme frustration that a number of people on the PCC will not speak out, but anyone who does is told that they are being unsupportive of the church’s mission, and of the incumbent himself.

    There seems to be a culture of believing that what the incumbent says is the will of God.
    ( sorry, but I am only too aware of the human fallibility of the clergy to go along with that view.)
    Some are supportive of everything he says and does, without question.
    Others are not entirely happy but are prepared to put their personal views aside for the greater good.
    Others adopt a wait and see approach.
    I and one other adopt a questioning approach, and now that we are in a period of consultation I feel more free to ask others for their opinions.

    Yes, we are all agreed that some changes are needed, and yes, some services need to be family friendly. If we don’t increase our numbers and especially younger people, then there will be nobody active left in ten years time, like many churches.
    Underneath all the detail, I fail to see how alienating many of the congregation is helpful ( potential loss of income could be one consequence), and, more importantly, modernising ( and dumbing down) services is not going to suddenly fill the pews. The incumbent appears to have no other strategy for attracting young families. The number of Baptisms has fallen sharply, and we have no plans, other than a leaflet on behalf of the churches to contact the occupants of the new houses being built.

    For some of us, the music is such a hugely important part of worship, but I suppose if you have no musical soul, like our incumbent, you can’t begin to understand where we are coming from.
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