The 1951 edition includes a copyright claim: "Copyright (C) R. L. Allan & Son (Publishers) Ltd, 1951". For typographical arrangements (i.e. layout or appearance of the printed article), the duration of publishers copyright in UK and jurisdictions with similar law is 25 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was first published with that layout/appearance.

Compilation copyright for the 1987 edition was registered in USA by Pocock & Martin as Trustees for the "Christian Church in England" as an "employer for hire". Although Pocock & Martin registered compilation copyright, recent court cases cast doubt as to whether compilation copyright could properly be claimed. The basis of Pocock & Martin's claim was New Matter: "new music, words & arrangements and compilation." Courts ask questions such as: Was sufficient intellectual effort applied in the selection? 17 USC § 103(a) states that the "copyright in a compilation … extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material."

It is believed that the compilation was created in 1985 by a committee of Carson Cowan (Ontario), Norman Henderson (England), Nathan McCarthy (New Zealand), Ken Paginton (England), Willis Propp (Alberta), Eldon Tenniswood (California), Herwin Bell (Australia), Garrett Hughes (Colorado), Charles Steffen (Illinois), Tharold Sylvester (Washington), Ernest Nelson (B.C.), Howard Mooney (Oregon), Hennie Groenewald (South Africa), Andreas Stark (South Africa), Irvine Pearson (Ireland) and possibly Wayne Harris (Oregon), Joel Boyd (California) and Jonathan Wright (California).

Workers meeting at Lakewood, California 6 April 1985 to select hymns for new edition

Back Row: Carson Cowan (Ontario), Norman Henderson (England), Nathan McCarthy (New Zealand) Ken Paginton (England), Willis Propp (Alberta) Wayne Harris (Oregon)

Row 2: Eldon Tenniswood (California), Herwin Bell (Australia), Garrett Hughes (Colorado), Jonathan Wright (California), Charles Steffen (Illinois), Joel Boyd (California)

Row 3: Tharold Sylvester (Washington), Ernest Nelson (British Columbia), Howard Mooney (Oregon), Hennie Groenewald (South Africa), Andreas Stark (South Africa), Irvine Pearson (Ireland)

Row 4: Jill Christianson, Virginia Boyd, Evelyn Gerlund, Marilyn Denio, Kathy Dunnett, Andrea Gronley, Heather Hansen

Wayne Harris, Joel Boyd, and Jonathan Wright and some others were involved in preparation of the manuscript of the hymn book after the committee had completed its selection.

If the compilation copyright claim is valid, and it has a correct status as a 'work for hire' (i.e. created by employees as part of their job, or a work created on behalf of a client where all parties agree in writing to the Work For Hire designation), it would have a duration in USA of 95 years after publication but only 50 or 70 years in other countries.

Many of the hymns and tunes used in the 1987 edition are public domain, having been first published many years ago. However the 1987 edition includes a note "For information regarding works followed by (C)* please contact the publisher" [R. L. Allan & Son (publishers)].

The 1987 edition posts this copyright claim for the words of 297 of the 303 hymns written by F&W. However many of the authors died more than 50 years ago (the relevant period for British Commonwealth countries) and some more than 70 years ago (the primary period for USA). It was not claimed for the following 6 hymns:

  • 183 Our God, Our Father - Eddie Cooney (1867-1960) *1

  • 214 If It Had Not Been The Lord - Mrs May Schulz *2

  • 243 Upon A Lonely Mount - Adam Hutchison (1873-1925) *3

  • 301 Mid Worldly Temptations - Mrs Mabel Graham (1885-1918) *3

  • 363 Jesus Trod The Pathway - Adam Hutchison *3

  • 377 How Real To Know - Adam Hutchison *3

*1 Copyright was claimed for the other hymns written by Eddie Cooney so this might be an error.

*2 Perhaps copyright wasn't claimed because it is a paraphrase of Psalm 124

*3 The compilers might have considered that copyright claims had expired in non-US territories which have a period of death date + 50 years. However copyright was claimed for hymn 46 Lord Jesus, Lead - John Sullivan (1874-1924) so the logic used is not clear.

Other word copyrights noted are:

    • Broadman Press 197 'Teach Me to Pray, Lord' by A S Reitz (1879-1966). Now administered by Music Services.

  • Singspiration 215 'A Tender Heart' by Ira F. Stanphill (1914-1993). Now administered by Music Services.

Typical licence fees are $15-35 for reprint in a church bulletin or song sheet or $20 to place the words only in a Powerpoint presentation but there are many other forms of licence available.

The 1987 edition notes music copyright is held by

  • A S Reitz 197

  • Broadman Press 287

  • Charles Alexander Copyright Trust 21, 57, 310

  • Diadem Productions 105

  • Hope Publishing Co 261

  • Leonard, Gould & Bolttler 65, 239, 351

  • Lorenz Corporation 32, 131, 322, 367, 372

  • Marshall Morgan & Scott 39, 59, 76, 118, 166, 232, 233, 395

  • N.Y.L.C. 364

  • Pickering & Inglis 91

  • Rodeheaver 193, 302, 323, 357, 412

  • Singspiration 215, 403

Copyright is claimed for various tunes written by the following F&W:



  • ARTHUR HESELWOOD (died 1953, so now public domain in British Commonwealth countries)



  • ELINOR KLEEB (died 2004)

  • F HERMANN GEUE (died 1937, so now public domain in British Commonwealth countries and USA)


  • GEOFFREY BOWDLER (died 1974)

  • GLENN SMITH (died 1968)

  • HARRY REDMAN (died 1985)


  • JACK PRICE (died 2015)

  • JOE MACADAM (died 1947, so now public domain in British Commonwealth countries)

  • KEN PAGINTON (died 1997)


  • MARION MCPHERSON (died 1998)




  • MRS MARY LOU (FONTAINE) TODD (died 2002)

  • MRS MAY SCHULZ (died 1991)

  • SAM JONES (died 1946, so now public domain in British Commonwealth countries)

Fair Use

USA law has the concept of fair use. See

The fair use of a copyrighted work, including use of copies for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

  • the nature of the copyrighted work;

  • the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

  • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Fair Dealing

Fair dealing is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work. Fair dealing is found in many of the common law jurisdictions of Commonwealth Countries. Fair dealing is not as flexible a concept as the American concept of fair use. See

Use of Hymns in Funeral Hymn Sheets

In April 2013 the following letter was issued by Alan Richardson, overseer in New Zealand. It makes unusual claims, not just relating to copyright for the ~300 hymns written by members of the fellowship (although copyright has expired in many cases) but also to copyright ownership by Pocock and Martin, that a number of the hymns are 'our sole property' and 'for our exclusive use'. This would seem to conflict with the Christian ethic and is not reflected by the fellowship's use of hymns written by authors who belonged to Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic and other religions. This use is by licence in some cases, but many other hymns are used without attribution because they are in the public domain.

"Reproducing or copying of hymns in Hymns Old and New

Since mention was made in our last Workers’ Meeting about the matter of the copyrights of our hymns and their use on hymn sheets for funerals, a further letter about this has come from elder brothers overseas. As you will see at the front of the music edition of Hymns Old and New, a compilation copyright is held legally by Messrs Pocock and Martin, who are both friends of ours in England. The copyright to either the words or music of many of the individual hymns in the book, which have been written or composed in the past by our workers or friends, are also owned by Pocock and Martin. Where such a legal copyright exists, it has been noted (without name) at the bottom left-hand side of the appropriate hymn. For some other hymns, the copyright belongs to persons outside our fellowship and these hymns/music are used by permission.

A beautiful collection of hymns, with unknown depth, is our inheritance. A number of the hymns are our sole property, for our exclusive use, and our brothers in every land wish this to continue. Those of our fellowship who wrote hymns did not wish their works to be publicised further. The suggested guidelines, which must be respected, are:

(1) That hymns used on hymn sheets for funerals should have only the words printed and not the music. It has been finally suggested and agreed that after the words of such hymn, in all cases the following wording should be incorporated: © Hymns copyright Pocock & Martin. Used by permission.

This only applies to hymns in Hymns Old and New which have the notation at the bottom on the left hand side: Words: ©*. The hymns 197 & 215 should not be used at all for funerals, as there exist current copyrights which are owned by persons outside our fellowship. Would you please make all these stipulations known whenever our hymns are being used for a funeral hymn sheet.

(2) For any other reproduction of a hymn in Hymns Old and New, whether mechanical or electronic, permission for such use must first be obtained from the copyright holders, Messrs Pocock & Martin, or from their agents, RL Allan & Son (Publishers).

[signed by Alan Richardson] 20 April 2013

R L Allan and Son has refused to clarify copyright status or comment on the apparent inaccurate claims by Mr Richardson and refused to provide contact details for Pocock & Martin, or for the compilers of the Hymn Book unless they are told who has compiled the information included in this web site.

Recently further correspondence regarding hymn copyright has been circulated. The text of these letters is pasted below:

13 Dec 2012

Ben Crompton

c/- [Details redacted],

England U.K.

Dear Brothers,

This is just a line concerning the Hymns Old & New (English Edition), and other more recent translations, (other language editions) with ref. to the original Pocock & Martin 1987 copyright.

A legal copyright was incorporated when the last revision of the Hymns Old & New English edition was printed (1987). This step was taken, that we might obtain permission to use hymns already copyrighted, protect the compilations of our own writers, and also to protect the full collection for ourselves. It was the only way to proceed professionally whilst R. L.Allan & Son were to be the designated publishers.

There were some hymns that could not be incorporated in this edition, because they were protected by copyright and permission was not granted for us to use them. Where permission was granted, we were generally charged a fee by the publisher/copyright holder.

To recap:

Compilation copyright © 1987 Pocock & Martin

All rights reserved. No part of the music or words

of these songs or hymns may be reproduced, stored in a

retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means,

electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise,

without the prior permission in writing from the publisher

or copyright owner.

R. L.Allan & Son Publishers

Permission does need to be granted for the use of any of these hymns separate from the hymn book, as detailed above. Whether words only, music included, or even recorded. We understand that copies of such have been circulating. As a result, we are found to be in an embarrassing situation and in violation of the terms of copyright, with both the publishers and the legal copyright holders.

It is clear that there are only 3 parties authorised to grant permission for the use of the hymns separate from the compilation of Hymns Old & New: Nicholas Gray of R.L.Allan & Son, Michael Pocock and Terry Martin. Unfortunately we are finding that infringements of copyright are mostly from within the fellowship.

There is one aspect which concerns us in the U.K. and that is the use of a hymn sheet for Funeral services. For such a limited edition, if reference is made: < copyright used by permission © > this is adequate in such an instance, and it covers us.

Dale Shultz and Barry Barkley have helped in looking into this matter recently. We hope that this will be helpful in trying to curb some of the malpractices that have arisen.

We trust that this finds you well, and that all goes fairly well there. Our greetings, your brothers,

Dale Shultz, Barry Barkley, Ben Crompton

October 7, 2013

Dear fellow-workers and friends,

On December 13, 2012 we sent a letter regarding Hymns Old and New. Since that time we have been introduced to some of the details of copyright law which are much more profound and complicated than we realized.

In the above mentioned letter we stated there were likely infringements of the copyright. Some who have studied the copyright laws in detail are convinced that there has been no infringement.

We apologize to any who were offended by our previous statement.

The publisher with whom a contract exists is interested in offering a digital version of the hymnbook in their catalogue. Consent has been granted. The company is aware that free versions exist. We choose to refrain from attempting to control these free versions which likely are not infringements on the laws as they exist. At this point in time, however, we would discourage new sites being created for digital production of Hymns Old and New.

We respect, and encourage our friends to respect, the fact that a contract exists; that this company respects their role as publisher of Hymns Old and New and we respect those in UK who are willing stewards in representing our fellowship in maintaining the contract with the publisher.

We are deeply thankful for the cooperation we have encountered from our friends as we search the best way forward through the maze.

The technology in hearing devices and digital books is a wonderful aide for the visually and hearing impaired. In our sacred fellowship meetings we encourage our friends to continue using hard copies of The Bible and Hymnbook. The above exceptions are understood.

Hymns copied for funerals/weddings may continue as has been the practice.

"Hymns Old and New" are a wonderful aid as we practice the verse "singing and making melody in your heart to The lord". Enjoy!

Thanks for your patient forbearance and kind respect for order through this journey.

Your brothers in Christ,

Dale Shultz, Ben Crompton, Barry Barkley