Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to the Editor of The Times

Letter No.: 
Wednesday 16 November, 1955

Composers' Guild of Great Britain,
4, St. James's Place,

We have read with sympathy and fellow-feeling the just plea made by a distinguished group of authors in your correspondence columns on Monday, November 14, for a clear understanding of the grave issues involved when the Government's Copyright Bill is debated in Parliament.  The two specific points they quote from the draft Bill are evidence in themselves of the need for careful thinking on these urgent matters which strike hard at the author's and composer's rights in the protection of the creative products of his brain.
This century has seen a remarkable change in the position of the composer in relation to his public.  He, perhaps to an even greater extent than the author, is dependent for his livelihood on mechanical means of reproduction.  It would be hard indeed if the progress of science, which has made possible the widespread diffusion of his work to an extent that was unpredictable and unthinkable when the 1911 Bill was drafted, should prove indirectly responsible for any abandonment of the fundamental principe of international copyright (i.e., the protection of the creative artist).  It would be ironic if this primary right of the author and composer were to be jeapoardized by the creation of new and secondary copyrights, however necessary they may be thought to be.
Yours faithfully,
William Alywn, Arthur Benjamin, Peter Racine Fricker, Ralph Vaughan Williams, William Walton, Guy Warrack.

General notes: 

Printed in The Times newspaper, Wednesday, 16 November, 1955, headed "Copyright Bill".

The Times (no.53379), Wednesday, November 16, 1955, p.11.