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What is an arrangement?

An arrangement is a re-configuration of a melody or complete piece that adds or alters aspects like harmony, rhythm, texture and instrumentation.

You are encouraged to check the copyright status and the source of your arrangements. Arrangements may be registered on the assumption that their creation does not infringe any copyright of pre-existing music. Royalties are divided between the relevant parties.

Using arrangements based on non-copyright material

Your responsibilities as an arranger

Please check the copyright status of any work in which you wish to make an arrangement.

PRS for Music regards some instances of arrangements based on non-copyright material as un-payable. These include:

  • Transpositions (changing the music from one key to another)
  • Tape editing (removing blocks of the original work)
  • Performance instructions (including phrasing, dynamics, fingering)
  • Transcriptions from one method of notation to another

Arrangements based on copyright material

Your responsibilities as an arranger

You must check with the copyright owner of the original copyright material that they grant their permission for the arrangement. To assist you in identifying who the original copyright owner is you can use the Search our database function.

Once permission is granted you must ensure the original copyright owner is first to register the arrangement with PRS for Music, you can then register your claim.

Your responsibilities as the original copyright owner

You should ensure that you are first to register the arrangement with PRS for Music.

If you are aware of an unauthorised arrangement you must notify PRS for Music so that we can implement the infringement process, please download our rules document for more information.

Folk music – the transcription holds the copyright

Copyright law states that if you write down a traditional song, this transcription becomes a copyright work. The copyright lies in the transcription and not in the traditional song.

This means the transcription is copyright. It may not be copied, reproduced, published, publicly performed or adapted unless permission is obtained from the transcriber. However, this does not prevent people from transcribing from the same source. By doing this they create their own copyright - even if their transcription is note for note the same as an existing transcription. 

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