Puccini still copyrighted in Italy

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Puccini still copyrighted in Italy

Postby Nigel Bannish » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:44 pm

I have been told that Puccini's works are still copyrighted in Italy, and that one must pay a fee to Ricordi and/or SAIE to perform one of his operas. Does anyone know if this is true? He has been dead more than 70 years, which I thought was the copyright period in the EU. Ricordi claims that Puccini assigned the copyright to them.
Last edited by Nigel Bannish on Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Puccini still copyrighted in Italy

Postby Nigel Bannish » Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:02 am

And while I'm at it: IMSLP's pages for Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi warn that they're copyrighted in Canada and elsewhere--why would that be? Puccini died in 1924. Curiously, Il Tabarro, composed at the same time, has no such warning.
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Re: Puccini still copyrighted in Italy

Postby steltz » Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:49 am

Copyright covers all contributors and for opera, of course, this includes the librettists. I don't have the details off the top of my head right now, but in Puccini's case, I think he was working with a young librettist when he was an old man, so the librettist is the one who is still under copyright. And since he used different librettists for different operas, this is why some are still covered but not others.

The issue of rental is a different one. Once a work is in the public domain, if a company has the only set of parts available, they are under no obligation to make the work available for sale. There are several examples of public domain works that can only be rented, not purchased . . . .
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Re: Puccini still copyrighted in Italy

Postby Choralia » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:41 pm

Some more hints:

- music of Turandot was completed by Franco Alfano (1876 - 1954) after Puccini's death. So it will be copyrighted in Italy until the end of 2024;

- "editio princeps" protection is 25 years in Italy. Therefore, any work by Puccini published for the first time after 1994 (70 years after Puccini's death) is subject to 25 years of protection;

- "urtext edition" protection is 20 years in Italy. Therefore, any new edition of Puccini's works is subject to 20 years of protection.

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Re: Puccini still copyrighted in Italy

Postby daphnis » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:05 am

Nigel, to answer your second query (and to build on steltz's valuable information), the two operas by Puccini listed as copyright in Canada (and elsewhere) are because the librettist is under copyright. Terms of protection take into consideration all contributors to the piece, not just the composer of the music.
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Re: Puccini still copyrighted in Italy

Postby Carolus » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:46 pm

The naked assertion that "Puccini's works are still copyrighted in Italy, and that one must pay a fee to Ricordi and/or SAIE to perform one of his operas" is flatly not true in several cases: Tosca, Madama Butterly, and La Boheme to name three. Both composer and librettist have been dead over 70 years, which means that even in Italy (whose term is life plus 70) these three operas are public domain. The librettist for Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi lived until 1970, which is why they remain under copyright in Canada until 2021.
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Re: Puccini still copyrighted in Italy

Postby Nigel Bannish » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:27 am

Thanks for clearing up the mystery about Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica.
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