A BAND has taken on international music companies which it claims are unfairly profiting from its charity version of a traditional Christmas song.
Spen group The Isabella Blues Band, set up in memory of guitarist Steve Walker’s late granddaughter Isabella Dean, recorded a new arrangement of Silent Night to raise money for the Alder Hey Family House Trust.
The charity supported the family of Isabella, who died just after her first birthday, when she was treated for a complex heart condition.
On Tuesday keyboard player Keith Appleton uploaded the song to website YouTube, with any income from advertising linked to the video to go to the trust.
But within half an hour he received an email from YouTube saying his video, called Silent Night, could be breaking copyright owned by Chappell Warner Music and BMG Rights Management. And he said any money made from advertising on the video could end up going to them instead.
He said: “I am disgusted. Silent Night is in the public domain – nobody has copyright over the original song and our version is different.”
Silent Night was composed in Austria in 1818.
Keith said he believed the companies represented artists who had recorded the song and were claiming copyright on every video uploaded to YouTube called Silent Night.
He said: “Instead of looking into it properly they have put a global block on versions of it. If they just look the time to look into it they would realise it’s nothing at all to do with them.”
Steve added: “The power these people think they have over everybody is disgraceful. They are wrong. Silent Night is out of copyright.
“We are trying to raise money for charity, we didn’t expect this to happen.”
Keith said he had put in a dispute with YouTube – but it could take 30 days for the company to respond, meaning any proceeds made over Christmas would go to the record companies instead of the children’s charities.
Following their appeal BMG released its claim on Thursday but Chappel Warner had not yet responded.
He said: “The whole point of doing it was to raise money for the charity. There is no ego involved.
“When Isabella was in hospital Steve drove there every day to see her and the Alder Hey Trust let him stay there free of charge which was a massive help. This is the charity we are trying to support. We are so angry about this.”
We approached YouTube, Chappell Warner Music and BMG Rights Management for comment, but none responded.