Editio Pinceps

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Editio Pinceps

Postby Starrmark » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:41 pm

A hypothetical question:

An orchestral score by a European composer was performed in Europe in 1875 using a manuscript score and hand-copied parts. This performance is well-documented. Neither the score nor the parts were ever published, printed or copyrighted -- anywhere. The manuscript score and parts disappeared soon after the performance; however, the score was located last year. The work was then substantially edited and typeset. This typeset edition was copyrighted in the US. In 2014, this edition of the work was commercially published in the US. Printed copies bearing 2014 copyright notices were sold and distributed in the US and abroad for the first time this year.

My question deals only with EU copyright law, not US law. This first published edition of this work is undoubtedly now protected in the EU as well as the US, and elsewhere; but is the original work (composed in 1875 by a composer who died in the 19th Century) now protected in EU countries for 25 (or 30) years under the Editio Princeps doctrine? In other words, can another editor or another publisher in the EU go back to the original manuscript and legally publish another edition, and sell/distribute it in the EU?

I know there is no Editio Princeps protection now in the US. However, would this composition now be subject to Edition Princeps protection in the EU, given the circumstances I outlined above?


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Re: Editio Pinceps

Postby Carolus » Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:39 am

Possibly. The Montezuma ruling of 2005 basically placed the burden of proof upon the party making the editio princeps claim. If it can be demonstrated - even by a second-hand account - that the composer had another copy of the work made and sent it off to a conductor or to a library, there would be unlikely to be any editio princeps copyright in the EU, just for the new edition.

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