General copyright-related issues and discussions
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I have two very old arrangements for piano six hands, the Military Polonaise by Chopin and the Gypsy Rondo by Haydn. They were published by Theodore Presser, but there is no copyright information printed on the scores so I don't have a publishing date, but I know them to be very, very old, probably circa 1915. Would they be considered public domain? I wrote to Presser for information and they said I could photocopy a judge's copy for $15 for each score, but if they are public domain, I shouldn't even have to do that should I? Thanks for you help on this quandary!
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The arrangements are almost certainly free in the USA. The issue in other countries - including Canada (where IMSLP is hosted) - is whether the arranger has been dead over 50 years or not. For example, one of the folks who arranged things for US publishers - Richard Klugescheid - lived until 1968 and is not free in Canada, even though all his arrangements published before 1923 are free in the USA. As with so much involving copyright, the short answer is: .... it depends...
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