New Beethoven String Quartet

General copyright-related issues and discussions

Moderators: kcleung, Copyright Reviewers

Starrmark
active poster
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:40 pm
notabot: 42
notabot2: Human
Location: Los Altos, CA
Contact:

New Beethoven String Quartet

Postby Starrmark » Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:25 am

A few years ago, a very brief movement for string quartet by Beethoven surfaced as a signed manuscript leaf in a privately held album. There is no question about its authenticity. Subsequently, a facsimile of the manuscript was published by a foundation (based in Europe, I believe.) I have seen the facsimile myself. The publication was accompanied by all sorts of warnings that the piece was protected by a new copyright, and no one could touch it without permission.

I have read that in the US under the 2002 revision of the copyright law, all unpublished music composed by composers dead more than 70 years is automatically in the public domain. So, is this claim of copyright by this foundation real or bogus - at least here in the US? This publication is a photograph of the complete original handwritten signed manuscript (two pages), not a typeset edition - so there is no issue of an edition with new intellectual content added by an editor. Nor is the question concerned with reproduction of the published color photograph. The question is specifically whether or not this foundation can establish its claim of copyright on Beethoven's music in this quartet movement in the US. Or is anyone in the US free to transcribe the notes from this photograph, publish the piece here, and play it in public, without permission from this foundation (which purchased the manuscript)?

MS

Peter
Site Admin
Posts: 430
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:34 am
notabot: 42
notabot2: Human

Re: New Beethoven String Quartet

Postby Peter » Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:47 pm

If it's published after 2002 it's probably in public domain in the US(read this page for more information). Editio princeps copyright goes the the first publisher, not to the owner. If you have scans / photographs and are thinking of uploading it, pass us some details about the date and location of the publication. Probably it will be protected for 25 years in EU and hence also in Canada, so it won't be allowed on IMSLP.

Carolus
Site Admin
Posts: 2192
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:18 pm
notabot: 42
notabot2: Human
Contact:

Re: New Beethoven String Quartet

Postby Carolus » Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:20 am

50 years in Canada. Probably 50 also in Australia and New Zealand. They can't really claim copyright on the manuscript (the work itself) in the USA if issued 2003 or later, only on an edition. (Though I'm sure they could find some lawyers to write you threatening letters if you elected to reprint it in the USA).


Return to “Copyright Related”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest