Saturday, August 16, 2008

ICEL: The Land of the Greedy

Bernard Brandt took a look at ICEL's standard contract for use of ICEL v.1.0 language.

[T]ry finding any online texts for ICEL. Good luck. Or perhaps I should say, fat chance. Some good people have attempted to put ICEL texts online so that people could actually see what they said (or more to the point, did not say.) In each case, the minions of ICEL acted to make them take those texts off the internet.

I took the opportunity to access the ICEL’s statement on copyright, which includes their sample contract, which they impose on anyone so foolish to attempt to use their texts in a liturgical setting. Basically, if you were to use ICEL texts exclusively for a musical setting, ICEL charges between 10% and 11% of the price of the text as their share of royalties.

I will beg to point out that the standard in which most choral music publishers give to composers is 10 percent. In other words, if a composer were so foolish as to use an ICEL text for his or her work, all of the royalties would go to ICEL, instead of the composer. Is it any wonder why composers are somewhat less than willing to use ICEL texts?

But wait: it gets even better. The Sample Contract (which is on and after page 20 of the PDF text) states in Section 7 of the Contract that if anyone fails to pay royalties on the disputed text, that they forfeit all rights under the contract. In short, that means that all rights to their work goes to ICEL. How Christian. How generous of them.

But wait, there’s more: Under section 9 of the Sample Contract, in the event that the Publisher fails to keep the publication in print, the contract is void, and ICEL gets all rights in the work. Oh, yes, and under section 16 of the Sample Contract, in the event that the publisher becomes insolvent or bankrupt, all rights revert to ICEL as well.

An old friend of mine, very knowledgeable of the ying-and-yang in liturgical affairs, told me 15 years ago that ICEL's copyright policy was "all about the money."

There's little doubt that it was 'all about fidelity' to the original never was.

HT: Aristotle

1 comment:

David said...

The road to hell is paved with bishop's skulls.