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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000135.txt from 2003/06

From: Oliver Seely <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Re: Copyright; was Law and Semantics
Date: Wed, 4 Jun 2003 12:40:52 -0400

Two things which came to mind since my last posting on this topic:

Several years ago I observed that in the case of the K.452 quintet, I
checked perhaps 60 measures in the first movement in a photocopy of the
autograph and compared them with the same measures in a published,
copyrighted edition. There were no differences. None. I would take a
chance on a court ruling that when something is in the public domain it is
in the public domain and it doesn't matter where someone gets his source
material if the substance of that source is in the public domain. I
wouldn't worry about taking notes, articulation and dynamics markings from
a published version if I was confident that the publisher's intent was to
adhere to that which was put down by the composer. That publishers
historically have prided themselves on accuracy makes such an assumption
rather routine. Moreover, significant changes by a publisher result in the
standard by-line, "Arranged by. . ."

The second point is that not only do I frequently make changes from that
which I find in published versions (and mine of course result in an
improvement to the work!) but I make mistakes too. I figure that I ought
to be able to copyright ALL of my mistakes! Barring that, the mistakes
which creep into a new edition of a commercially published version of a
public domain work offer a unique spin on the earlier work. No self
respecting publisher would claim it to be a copy! 8-)


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