To the devout reader
If it is true that the common good is damaged by those who find a treasure and do not share it, but hide it away and do not enrich the world with it as they should, then I would have made a greater error if I, having in my hands the papers of Delia Derbyshire, which are a musical treasure, had not brought them to light to be seen by many people who, by means of this work, are sure to be enlightened and enriched. Thus, to avoid this sin, I have resolved to publish these papers which until now have been hidden away merely because their custodian, out of modesty and humility, shuns the glare of publicity. Thus I have become his intermediary, out of love for humanity and respect for their author, in such a way that he might remain in his privacy and at the same time the world might not be defrauded of so much good.
[paraphrased from Trattato della Religione, 1592]
Any of Delia's work that was specifically commissioned by the BBC is copyright to that body. The situation for some non-BBC works, in which Delia reused her sounds or her makeup tracks to create other pieces, is unclear.
Works commissioned by other entities, such as theatre effects and film music, is copyright to whoever paid of it or, in some cases, the eternal rights were retained by Kaleidophon, Unit Delta Plus or Electrophon. Recent EU legislation puts them into the public domain as "orphan works" if the people or organisations owning them cannot be traced by a "good faith, due diligence search".
The referent for Delia's unpublished music is her defacto heir, sometimes referred to as "The Delia Derbyshire Estate", who is Clive Blackburn. It would have belonged to her husband, David Hunter, who she married in 1974 and never divorced. Clive Blackburn said in 2005 that “After she died we advertised for him to come forward but he never did.” and Brian Hodgson said in 2008 that “The husband didn't reappear on her death. I don’t think anyone really knew how to get hold of him, but there was enough publicity, if he wanted to make himself known, to have made himself known”.”
In the UK, the term of copyright in a musical composition is limited to the life of the author plus 70 years, while the term of copyright in a sound recording is limited to 50 or 70 years from the date of recording.
UK copyright law changed in November 2013. Term of copyright in sound recordings has been extended non-retroactively from 50 to 70 years. Under this new law recordings made from 1963 onwards will remain under copyright control until at least 2034. Recordings made in 1962 or earlier remain in the public domain.
The EU Directive on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society, 22 May 2001  affords to authors, performers, phonogram producers, film makers and broadcasting organisations:
the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit reproduction by any means and in any form, in whole or in part: for authors, of their works; for performers, of fixations of their performances; for phonogram producers, of their phonograms; for the producers of the first fixations of films and copies of them; for broadcasting organisations, of fixations of their broadcasts by wire or over the air.
and, to the same five groups
the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit (for authors:) communication or (for the other four:) the making available to the public of their works.
The makeup sounds that Delia made at the BBC during the preparation of her pieces may be covered by Article 5, 2.(d):
in respect of ephemeral recordings of works made by broadcasting organisations by means of their own facilities and for their own broadcasts; the preservation of these recordings in official archives may, on the grounds of their exceptional documentary character, be permitted;
The rest of the WikiDelia hides under the broad exceptions in Article 5, paragraphs 2(c):
in respect of specific acts of reproduction made by publicly accessible libraries or archives, which are not for economic or commercial advantage
use for the sole purpose of illustration for teaching or scientific research, as long as the source, including the author's name, is indicated
quotations for purposes such as criticism or review, provided that they relate to a work or other subject-matter which has already been lawfully made available to the public, including the author's name, provided that the use is in accordance with fair practice, and to the extent required by the specific purpose
As far as accessing Delia's tapes is concerned, the John Rowlands Library at Manchester University is covered by the exception in Article 5 paragraph 3(n):
communication or making available, for the purpose of research or private study, to individual members of the public by dedicated terminals on the premises of establishments referred to in paragraph 2(c) of works and other subject-matter not subject to purchase or licensing terms which are contained in their collections
and can let you sit and listen to her tapes.
- EU Proposal for a Directive on Orphan Works (2009)
- The Mail on Sunday article.
- Brian Hodgdon interviewed for Breege Brennan's thesis, 4th August 2008.
- The Open Music Archive's FAQ.
- EU Directive on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society, 22 May 2001