CPDL Copyright notice

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CPDL Copyright notice

Postby ebcjr » 02 Feb 2009 17:08

The copyright section says that I must "conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice" when I copy and/or distribute a CPDL edition, which I am willing to do. I don't know what that notice should say and I couldn't find it searching the site or forums. In this case I want to use Brahms' Liebeslieder Walzer which have no coyright notice at all on any page but the site states that the the copyright is CPDL. What do I add to the bottom of the pages where the copyright should go?
Last edited by ebcjr on 03 Feb 2009 15:03, edited 1 time in total.
Soli Deo Gloria
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Re: CPDL Copyright notice

Postby DrewE » 02 Feb 2009 17:38

Disclaimer: I'm neither a lawyer nor a copyright expert. I'd be curious to see what other people think; these requirements have seemed very questionable to me for many of the works licensed (or otherwise) under the CPDL.

The music itself is, of course, in the public domain (at least in the USA), and thus not subject to any copyright protection. As I understand it, the edition cannot be covered by copyright in the US as it presumably contains no new content, being merely a mechanical replication of the original. Thus, I don't think there's any valid copyright statement that could actually apply to the edition in the USA, and any claims of copyright wouldn't legally hold up. Other countries, of course, have differing laws; in particular, some countries recognize a copyright on a particular typesetting/engraving of a work, independent of the copyright on the work itself. To that extent, it's presumably legal to reproduce the work without fulfilling the requirements of the CPDL as no license is required to reproduce public domain works.

I'd suggest, as a practical matter, putting a statement to the effect that the work is in the public domain and the edition comes from the CPDL and may be freely copied and so on and so forth.
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Re: CPDL Copyright notice

Postby carlos » 02 Feb 2009 17:55

Hi there! In many older editions this is the disclaimer used. As CPDL license hasn't changed, I'm pretty sure the notice below is still valid and you have just to update the year:

Copyright @ 2000 by the Choral Public Domain Library (http://www.cpdl.org)
Edition may be freely distributed, duplicated, performed, or recorded.
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Re: CPDL Copyright notice

Postby Robert Urmann » 03 Feb 2009 02:52

Dear all,

I'm neither a lawyer nor a copyright expert, too! But major issues concerning copy rights and intellectual property rights are the same around the globe:

  • Any author, composer, or "creator" in general owns ALL rights of his work as soon as it is created in his mind AND – regardless of the way – the work/idea has been made public.
  • One has to be the FIRST who's created this (at least intellectual) work, and this work must be UNIQUE.

That is quite simple, but it is the essential idea behind all copyright issues. Now we go on to the more difficult spots.

  • The creator is alive.
  • The creator is dead.

If the creator is still alive, the question can be answered in a few words: Yes, he holds all the copy rights and has to be asked for any permission for anything (all kinds of publishing, performance, broadcasting or whatever), and he is to be paid for any commercial use (at least in Germany we are allowed to perform copyrighted works for free in e.g. church services; you know it is for its own sake). Still, there are a few important exceptions: every copyright holder can transfer the rights to another one, e.g. to a publishing house. Mainly, composers and authors do this because large publishers have better connections to the organisations which are supervising copying and performances. (Just to mention: in Germany we have two different institutions, one for the creators, and one for the performers. When a copyrighted work is broadcasted, the station has to make payment to the representatives of the performer AND the creator. If the broadcasted work is not copyrighted they still have to pay the performer.)

If the creator is already dead, he still owns the copyrights, EXCEPT he himself has been dead for 70 years and the work itself is at least 70 years old (may be different in other countries). This seems to be more simple, but it isn't. There can be heirs, or there are publishing houses to which the creator assigned the rights when he was living. Then there could be editors who digged out lost scriptures (their new edition is then copyrighted as well). There can be many situations where copyright problems may arise. One should consider this when altering source files from the CPDL without changing the editor's note! I fully understand everyone who "only" uploads PDFs – I do the same.

Conclusion: If you are sure that you yourself are the copyright holder of your edition you can legally defensible add the suggested CPDL notice to your scores. I use these words: "© 200X by CPDL. This edition can be fully distributed, duplicated, performed, and recorded. Edited by Robert Urmann. Engraved by LilyPond." That covers: this edition as it is. If someone alters notes, lyrics, layout or whatever he HAS TO REMOVE this notice and replace it by his own. Remember: the composition itself is free of copyrights, but the edition is my work!

I hope this will help in general discussions. It is a very complex subject, and there are many other points to be mentioned … shouldn't be a neverending story if only everyone would take the rules of otherone's intellectual property for granted. Printed (vocal) scores aren't that expensive! Rehearsal scores of e.g. Bruckner, Brahms, Bach are just a few bucks; larger quantities have to be bought for public (and non-private) use, but then you get discount offers. I love the CPDL community for the available variety of especially ancient music, which couldn't be published by any single house in the world, but the CPDL can't substitute our beloved traditional music publishers.

Anyway, I'm sure that there are different (minor) regulations in all our world's countries, but the copyright idea is the same allover the planet – and I hope so throughout the entire universe if there other civilisations out there!

All best wishes,
Robert
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Re: CPDL Copyright notice

Postby Cdalitz » 03 Feb 2009 19:08

Even though modern reeditions of public domain music should not be copyrightble, there is a grey area and commercial music publishers of course try to convey the impression that they have "all rights". For a decent overview, see

http://www.publicdomainsherpa.com/public-domain-sheet-music.html

So I would recommend to add a notice like the CPDL license even on editions of public domain music, not to commit copyfraud, but to make sure that the edition can be freely used by everybody!
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Re: CPDL Copyright notice

Postby vaarky » 05 Feb 2009 08:13

Drew wrote: "The music itself is, of course, in the public domain (at least in the USA), and thus not subject to any copyright protection. As I understand it, the edition cannot be covered by copyright in the US as it presumably contains no new content, being merely a mechanical replication of the original."

That depends on what types of judgment-based changes the editor is responsible for (ficta and underlay changes are common in Renaissance music, for example). It is often not obvious whether a given edition is a simple mechanical reproduction. So I suggest erring on the side of including the notice.

Another benefit of including the notice is that people referencing the score years later can see where it came from if they want to get an unmarked copy of the score, or see if the source file is available for transposing, etc.

However, I'm guessing the notice was intended as something the editor himself was encouraged to put on the score, not something people downloading and printing scores were required to cut-and-paste on if the editor omitted it.
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Re: CPDL Copyright notice

Postby anaigeon » 07 Feb 2009 17:58

Let's consider two cases.

1. an editor has access to an old facsimile, and is publishing a modern edition of the piece.

2. an editor is just copying a well known piece free of copyright, just changing 3 ficta options.

Will both get editor fees, that is some percentage of the price they sell it ?
The first one has done 100% of the job, the second one has done 1%, thus in this case the fee should be deduced from 1% of the price !

Ok, I suppose the price might be 50$ in the first case, 20$ in the second case.
Let's imagine 10% fees (I have no idea).
The first one will get 5$ for a great job, the second one will get as much as 2$ for nearly nothing !!

Am I missing something ?
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Re: CPDL Copyright notice

Postby Cdalitz » 08 Feb 2009 12:50

anaigeon wrote:Am I missing something ?


Your point is not about copyright, but about unfair competition. Copyright is about giving monopoly privileges for creative works, not as a reward for any kind of effort (interestingly, this has changed recently in the EU with the newly introduced copyright grant for unoriginal collection of facts ("database works"), but this is a different story).

In your two cases, neither of the two editors should have his work protected by copyright. Nevertheless, the second editor breaks laws against unfair competition ("UWG" in Germany) by ripping off the work of the first editor and then selling this ripped off edition. The difference might seem subtle, but it is important (the following is the situation in Germany, but it is probably similar in other countries):
  • When a music edition is copyrighted, it may not even be copied for private amusement. Nor may it be performed in the public without permission of the copyright holder. When it is protected by UWG, only competitive commercial exploitment is forbidden.
  • Copyright protection lasts until 70 years after the author's death, which is infinite on a human timescale. UWG protection is based on amortization: it lasts until the first editor can be expected to have broken even. For editions of odd music this might be as long as 50 years, but it is definitely finite.
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Re: CPDL Copyright notice

Postby anaigeon » 09 Feb 2009 15:50

Thanks Cdalitz, for this subtle analysis! I find these questions very difficult, specially when one has to decide what is creative and what is not :shock:
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Re: CPDL Copyright notice

Postby anaigeon » 27 Sep 2009 16:20

carlos wrote:Hi there! In many older editions this is the disclaimer used. As CPDL license hasn't changed, I'm pretty sure the notice below is still valid and you have just to update the year:

Copyright @ 2000 by the Choral Public Domain Library (http://www.cpdl.org)
Edition may be freely distributed, duplicated, performed, or recorded.


I can't understand that.

Choral public domain libray -> the piece is supposed to be in the public domain.
Then CPDL pretends having the right to claim a copyright upon a public piece ?
And then, why..? Just to mention that one can do anything he wishes, which was exactly the situation right from the beginning !
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Re: CPDL Copyright notice

Postby choralia » 27 Sep 2009 22:51

Some useful readings to better understand copyright matters:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright (general principles of copyright)

http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/ChoralWiki:CPDL (specific application to the CPDL context)

http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Help:Can_modern_editions_of_public_domain_music_be_copyrighted%3F (more about copyright for modern editions of public domain works)

For example, CPDL does not claim any copyright on anything. CPDL copyright is just a suggested form of license that can be adopted by composers and/or editors to allow rather than to restrict the free use of new works, or of new copyrightable editions of public domain works (e.g., a vocal score with piano reduction obtained from a public domain orchestral score). GNU GPL or Creative Commons are other similar forms of license, that, because of their nature (completely opposite with respect to the traditional forms of copyright, as they are intended to allow rather than to restrict), are sometimes considered as forms of the so-called copyleft.

Max
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Re: CPDL Copyright notice

Postby pml » 28 Sep 2009 02:49

Hi Anaigeon,

Choral public domain libray -> the piece is supposed to be in the public domain.


No. The original work must be PD to allow it to be copied in the first place, but the new typesetting is (in some jurisdictions) treated as a new, copyrightable work.

So the legal point here is that new works (even if the new work is just a "copy" of an old "public domain" work) cannot be injected into the public domain by fiat. Since a copyright notice of some form is thus required, the CPDL licence allows a whole range of freedoms to anyone - the right to copy, to distribute, etc - that are normally reserved only to publishers and their agents. As well as "copyright", you should also have a look at "copyleft"...

Regards, PML
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Re: CPDL Copyright notice

Postby anaigeon » 28 Sep 2009 21:53

I thought that some original work had to be done in order to claim a copyright.
It might be very light (too light to my taste) in some cases (articulations), it might be useful (guitar fingerings), it might be rather creative (a good basso continuo), but I'm really surprised to learn that a strict copy can be copyrighted !!

>> choralia, thanks for the links!
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Re: CPDL Copyright notice

Postby vaarky » 29 Sep 2009 01:20

I'm not an attorney, but it is my understanding from our attorney that some act of creativity is required under U.S. law (e.g. a new edition that derives from an earlier public domain edition can only copyright the creative additions or modifications, not the underlying copyright-clear elements of the earlier work it's based on).
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Re: CPDL Copyright notice

Postby pml » 29 Sep 2009 22:36

Hi Vaarky,

Correct... but as pointed out in another thread, in some other jurisdictions new typography alone is enough to derive a new copyright, and as anyone in the world can download a CPDL score from the US server to perform in their own country, this issue is still obviously pertinent. It would rather fiddly to have a score marked as "In jurisdictions where typographical copyright can be claimed, this edition is © ... Edition may be freely copied, distributed, etc..."

Regards, PML (who isn't a lawyer, BTW)
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