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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000125.txt from 2003/06

From: Mark Gresham <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Re: Copyright; was Law and Semantics
Date: Wed, 4 Jun 2003 09:41:27 -0400

Joseph H. Fasel wrote:
> This seems silly. What constitutes publication? For a work in the
> public domain, why can't I do my own edition and limited publication?
> --Joe

You can. Publication basically means circulation of the work (on a
medium like paper or audio) beyond your direct control.
It is quite common to produce a new edition of a public domain work,
but you need to go to an actual public domain source (like a 19th
century Breitkopf printing) rather than use a modern edition from
another publisher as your source, as the editorial content added to the
new version falls under copyright.
In the case of competitions, like Houston, what they intend by
"published copy" is primarily that you're not bringing photocopies for
the judges to use, because they want to legally protect themslves. Many
competitions (including school festivals) require published copies.
The problem with electronically re-engraved editions is that there is
sometimes doubt about the actual "public domain-ness" of the copies.
I cite as example a "public domain" download site (which will remain
nameless) that happened to include copies of some music (not just
editions) that were NOT public domain, but claimed they were becasue the
site administrator (who made the online editions) didn't understand
international copyright law and the ramifications of placing the works
on a globally accessible resource.
Works that are PD in the USA may still be under copyright in Europe
and elsewhere, for example. Works which have been "restored" to
copyrighted status, like from the old Soviet Union, are another
("restored" is a misnomer; rather, the "West" is finally legally
recognizing the copyrights of those former Soviet countries).

Mark Gresham, composer
Lux Nova Press
LNP Retail Webstore

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