A music company has lost a landmark £1 million copyright battle over a CD of works recorded by a Birmingham choir.
Hyperion Records failed yesterday to overturn a judge's ruling that it owed copyright on musical scores to musicologist Dr Lionel Sawkins.
Dr Sawkins argued he made the music performable for a recording which was performed by the Jewellery Quarter- based choir Ex Cathedra in October 2001 and sold by Hyperion by adding orchestral parts.
Hyperion claimed the copyright only belonged to the original composer of the score, 17th century French composer Michel-Richard de Lalande.
It argued that Dr Sawkins' amendments, such as temp marks and phrasing to the music, which is entitled Music For the Sun King and sold 3,332 copies, warranted an editor's fee rather than copyright. But judges at the High Court found in Dr Sawkins' favour last May and again yesterday at the Court of Appeal.
The ruling means the music industry will have to pay royalties to musicologists, like Dr Sawkins, who substantially add and amend the music of long-dead composers.
Hyperion said the ruling would have "severe financial consequences" for the company by setting them back at least £1 million in legal costs.
It will also have a financial impact on Ex Cathedra because Hyperion said it would be cutting back on recordings to fund the legal costs of the case.
Ex Cathedra's chairman, John Pulford, said: "It is likely that Hyperion will no longer be commissioning many of our recordings in the foreseeable future."
Dr Sawkins said: "I spent more than 1,200 hours on this work. I am delighted that the judges have upheld my rights. I hope that this now means editors of early music will be properly rewarded for their efforts and that more forgotten masterpieces will be recorded as a result."