For requests relating to permission to use John’s sheet music, please visit Publishers’ Licensing Services Ltd. ( Good information about various uses of copyright material is also available from John’s publisher: Oxford University Press – Music Rights, or for questions not answered by either of the above sites you can email
For permission to use John’s Collegium Records recordings please use the Contact Form on this website.


Version @ 11.08.2017 – prepared by Simon Wright at Oxford University Press

  • What is ‘copyright’? Put simply, copyright is a law found in most countries of the world which states that the creators of artistic works own their creations – those creations are their ‘intellectual property’. As with any other form of property, intellectual property must not be stolen, or used by others without the consent of the creators or without any reward being offered.

Inevitably, over the 300 or so years of the development of copyright law, it has become more complex. Today, a more specific description would be to say that copyright is an exclusive property right, granted in law which protects the economic and other interests of composers, writers, artists, photographers, publishers, and those involved in media and entertainment. The relevant legislation in the UK is the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, and there is similar legislation in most other countries. Copyright ensures both that creators are able to enjoy protection and financial reward from the use of their work by other people, and that their publishers are able to continue funding new publications.

  • What is protected by copyright? UK legislation protects literary, dramatic, and musical works, databases, artistic works, films, sound recordings, broadcasts, and published editions.
  • What is the term of copyright protection for musical and literary works? In the European Union, these types of works are protected by copyright during the writers’ lifetimes and for seventy years after their death. In the case of a co-written work, the copyright protection period comprises the lifetime and seventy years after the death of the last surviving writer (the whole work is protected for that period, not just the part of it contributed by that last surviving writer). Term of copyright varies in other territories. All musical works by John Rutter are protected by copyright in all territories.
  • So some music may not be ‘in copyright’? That is correct. The commonly used term for a piece of music that is out of copyright is ‘a public domain work’ or a work that is ‘in the public domain’.  Public domain works may be freely used, without licence.  Care should be taken, however: certain works which are ‘public domain’ in one territory may be ‘in copyright’ in another. This anomaly is caused by differences in legislation, territory by territory.  If in doubt, check with the music publisher of the music edition concerned.
  • What about new editions of public domain works (for example, John Rutter’s edition of Fauré’s Requiem)? Many public domain works have been published in new, modern editions. A new edition will always have elements within it which are protected by copyright (for example, the critical commentary, completion of incomplete movements) and advice concerning the rights in individual editions should always be sought from the publisher concerned.
  • How can I identify the copyright owner of a particular piece of music, or the writer’s representative? Printed music will usually carry a copyright line containing the universal copyright symbol (©) and the name of the rights owner. CD labels and streaming websites will often identify the music publisher of individual tracks. In the UK the Music Publishers Association maintains a directory of music publisher members which includes contact details. The copyright in most works by John Rutter is controlled by Oxford University Press (
  • Where can I obtain further information about copyright? In the UK, the Copyright Hub is a comprehensive resource, as is the website of the Intellectual Property Office.

Obtaining music

  • Can I photocopy or scan sheet music? If the music and/or the printed edition of the music is in copyright then a licence from the copyright owner or their representative is normally required; most publishers will consider requests on a case-by-case basis, and will grant licences where necessary. The Music Publishers Association in the UK issues a Code of Fair Practice on copying music, listing many cases where a licence is not required. Beyond this, unlicensed copying of sheet music damages the income and work of composers and music publishers, and is illegal.  For information about making copies of John Rutter’s music please contact
  • I want to acquire downloads of sheet music from the Internet. Is this legal? It is illegal to download sheet music which is in copyright from the Internet unless this is through an authorized digital retailer. Downloading sheet music illegally severely damages the work, reputation, and income of composers and music publishers and so you should only acquire downloads if you are certain that the site offering the service is legitimate.
  • Can I borrow or hire music from libraries or other choirs and orchestras? It is legal to acquire music in this way for public performance and private use, but not to do so in order to make a recording.
  • How do I hire/rent music? Music publishers commonly place certain types of music on hire (usually, full scores and orchestral parts, and vocal scores). Many publishers, including Oxford University Press, use a centralized tool called zinfonia to facilitate enquiries, fee quotations, and ordering.  In the UK, the Music Publishers Association issues guidelines on hiring music. For further information about hiring John Rutter’s music please contact

Using copyright music and text

  • I want to reproduce the text of a hymn or song in a church or school Order of Service booklet. How do I obtain permission for this? Many churches and schools hold a licence from Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI), allowing them to reproduce hymn texts in Orders of Service and project them during services. The licence also covers the reproduction of hymns and worship songs for use by musicians playing during the service. If the church does not hold a CCLI licence, permission should be obtained from the rights owner or its representative. CCLI reproduction licences cover only hymns, hymn tunes, and worship songs and do not cover anthems and other types of choral works.
  • I want to give a performance of copyright music in public. How do I obtain a licence? In the UK the venue at which the performance takes place (concert hall, church, school, theatre, etc.) will require a licence for the public performance of copyright music. Licences are issued on behalf of all composers and music publishers by the Performing Right Society, to which application should be made. Many venues already hold a PRS licence; for those that do not, a ‘one-event-only’ licence can be obtained from PRS. If the work to be performed is a dramatico-musical work (for example, an opera, musical, or ballet), or a concert work used in a dramatic context, the licence should be obtained directly from the copyright owner or its representative, whether or not the performance itself is actually staged (excepting ballet scores performed in concert, for which a PRS licence is required). Further information on the performance of copyright music in the UK can be obtained from the Intellectual Property Office. For information on the performing rights in John Rutter’s works, please contact
  • I want to perform copyright music during a church service. Do I need a licence? In the UK, the PRS waives its right to issue a licence if the performance forms part of ‘divine worship’. The waiver does not apply to licences for broadcasts of music being performed as part of ‘divine worship’.
  • But my church building is also used for concerts? Do I need to obtain a licence for performance of copyright music? Only when copyright music is performed in worship services is the licence requirement for the building waived. The building must be fully licensed for concerts.
  • I want to make a recording of my performance of music which is in copyright – can I do this? A licence is required to make and distribute recordings of any music which is in copyright, and this applies whether or not you are making a charge to purchase the recording (delivered as a CD or in digital form). In the UK, licences should be obtained from the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS). For further information about recording John Rutter’s music please contact
  • I’m planning on using a commercial sound recording of copyright music at a wedding service. Can I do this? For use in the service itself, and at any following private reception or party, no performing right licence is required to cover either the copyright music or the copyright sound recording being used.
  • I want to use a recording of copyright music in my film – what licences do I need? Placing music within a film, video, television programme, or similar is called ‘synchronization’, and two separate synchronization licences will normally be required. Whether the use is professional, semi-professional, amateur, or educational, and whatever the eventual purpose of the film (including posting on YouTube) a synchronization licence for the use of the music is required, and this is normally obtained from the copyright owner or his/her representative. If you are using an existing commercial recording of the music, an equivalent synchronization licence for the use of the recording is also required, and should be obtained from the record company concerned. For further information about synchronization licences for the use of John Rutter’s music please contact Rights owners normally require ‘end credit’ wording in films containing licensed music, and you should therefore ensure that all music and sound recording use is correctly licensed before issuing or showing a film.
  • Can I film an amateur concert or a church service including copyright music and post some or all of it on YouTube? Yes, the situation here is not the same as using a commercial recording. YouTube is licensed in the UK and most other territories to include ‘User Generated Content’ such as films of concerts, services, and musical performances. However, if you also wish to issue copies of your film as a stream, download, or DVD, a synchronization licence and a mechanical licence will normally be required.
  • Can I use a commercial recording (whether of copyright music or not) as background music to a semi-private video or film (for example, a wedding video)? Is it OK to post this on FaceBook, Instagram, YouTube? Does the situation change if I make the video available for sale? There are two separate copyrights: the music, and the commercial recording. In all these types of usage you should always seek synchronization licences from both the music rights owner or his/her representative, and the record company.
  • I want to adapt a copyright musical composition, perhaps to make it fit my available resources (for example, a marching band). How do I get permission? To arrange or adapt any copyright musical composition, you should contact the copyright owner or his/her representative for permission, before you start to make the arrangement. Unless the work is unpublished, there is normally no need to go directly to the composer for permission. For further information about making arrangements of John Rutter’s music please contact
  • Can I set to music a text which is still in copyright? If a text is protected by copyright, then permission should be sought from the copyright owner of the text or his/her representative before making or exploiting any musical setting. A translation of a non-copyright text may in itself be in copyright, and it is therefore necessary to check this when using translations for musical settings, seeking permission from the rights owner or his/her representative if necessary.
  • I have a visual impairment which makes reading the published score difficult or impossible. Can I make an accessible copy of copyright music to suit my own needs? Provided you use a legitimately acquired music copy as the basis to make your own accessible copy, you can go ahead (although an audio recording would not normally count as an accessible copy).  Legislation in many countries grants this right, and rights owners will normally be pleased to advise and facilitate your access to music. For information on making accessible copies of John Rutter’s music, please contact



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