A band is only as good as its euphonium section, according to John Philip Sousa

By | 6 December 2017

The Christmas story is a reminder of the plight of the homeless, and we are all used to the sight and sound of the Salvation Army bands performing and collecting money in the streets to support the destitute. 30 years ago, when I was working for Lovell, White & King, (thanks to whose generosity, Law was the first of the Bodleian Libraries to offer Sunday opening) I realised just how competitive the world of brass bands can be. The European Commission’s Decision in BBI/Boosey & Hawkes issued protective interim measures to ensure the survival of a new company making British style brass band instruments, following an allegation of breach of copyright. It may be the only time that a euphonium has been played in the corridors of the Berlaymont Building to demonstrate that distinctive British sound.

Moving from IP rights in the design of musical instruments to copyright in the actual music brings me to my favourite Christmas boardgame, Sorry … and to Justin Bieber, whom Casey Dienel  claimed had used a loop from her song Ring the Bell in his song Sorry. It is fun to compare them. Skrillex and Bieber denied infringing copyright, posting a YouTube video to show how they arrived independently at an arguably somewhat similar sound. Their riposte is a neat reminder to us all of the importance of keeping careful records of both our sources and our methodologies.  The best way to avoid accidental plagiarism is to reference fully and accurately at every stage of the research process; then, if the worst happens your careful records will demonstrate the honesty and originality of your work.

Careful referencing and avoiding plagiarism are two sides of the same coin, which is why the Library combines them into one seminar that was offered several times in Michaelmas, and which we’ll be happy to run again on demand. Meanwhile, if you have any referencing questions, please remember that the Library staff is here to help you during the Vacation: we hope that all our readers will carry on referencing carefully over the Christmas holiday, and enjoy playing Sorry but not end up saying it!

Here, to round things up, is link to a Salvation Army Euphonium Quartet. Happy Christmas everyone and a great start to 2018.