Rule of the Shorter Term for non-EU works

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JamesBrigham
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Rule of the Shorter Term for non-EU works

Postby JamesBrigham » Thu Sep 15, 2016 1:45 pm

I've got two questions about the Black and White Rag by George Botsford http://imslp.org/wiki/Black_and_White_Rag_%28Botsford,_George%29

1. As I am in the EU (the UK) must I wait until 1st January 2020 when Botsford has been dead for 70 years before I can upload a typeset version of the this piece? Or will the Rule of the Shorter Term for non-EU works cover me? I assume IMSLP errs on the side of caution and that I will have to wait.

2. I have a version of the Black and White Rag that is a transcript as played by Winifred Atwell (1914- 1983 according to Wikipedia). The original sheet music doesn't appear to attribute a writing credit to her only to Botsford. So when would this version of the sheet music come into the public domain?

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Re: Rule of the Shorter Term for non-EU works

Postby Carolus » Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:26 pm

The EU's Rule of the Shorter Term is trumped in the UK by the bilateral treaty singled in 1891 between the UK and the USA. This is also the case for most of the major European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Spain - among others). Botsford is therefore protected in the UK until 2020. The matter of Atwell's transcription is a different issue. Atwell's arrangement would not even be eligible for upload to the main server in Canada until 2034. It's no surprise that the 1908 score would make no mention of Atwell as it was issued six years before her birth.

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Re: Rule of the Shorter Term for non-EU works

Postby JamesBrigham » Sun Sep 18, 2016 8:25 pm

I was trying to say that the transcription of her performance of the piece does not credit her BUT I was wrong - it states Written by George Botsford and Winifred Atwell.
But nevertheless it declares © Copyright 1911 Remick Music Corporation, USA. at the bottom.

If this transcription was done posthumously can she really be credited as a co-writer, especially if she was always playing it as a piece that credited only Botsford? Has she only been credited on the sheets to show that this is a transcription of how she played George Botsford's rag?

Also if this transcription was done posthumously does her estate have copyright over a transcription of her performance of George Botsford's piece?

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Re: Rule of the Shorter Term for non-EU works

Postby Carolus » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:48 pm

Here again we run into the problem of sound recordings (and all the associated copyright baggage), versus arrangements, versus performances, etc.

The transcription of Winifrid Atwell's playing could be counted as an adaptation (an arrangement or derivative work) if it departs enough from the original. The 1911 date seems like it's something of an error. The item was first published in 1908, not 1911. The 1911 notice appears to be an attempt to comply with the very strict notice requirements of the US law (year of first publication being a required element). Atwell's 'arrangement' may have been actually issued many years later. This would especially be the case if the arrangement was considered to be a 'work made for hire' by the copyright owners of Botsford's original.


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