Books under copyright? Yet still on IMSLP?

General copyright-related issues and discussions

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NightStryke
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Books under copyright? Yet still on IMSLP?

Postby NightStryke » Tue Jan 20, 2015 1:39 am

I've got a question... (For context, I live in the US)

As I have been browsing IMSLP I keep noticing pieces of sheet music that have been published far past 1923 (i.e. in the '50's and '60's) , and yet are still listed as "in the public domain" here on IMSLP? Am I missing something? Or are there special cases where such scores are in the PD, despite their year?

Here is an example of one such score:

Debussy's "Children's Corner", the specific score I am referring to is the Edition Peters one scanned by piupianissimo, number #82214

http://imslp.org/wiki/Children%27s_Corner_(Debussy,_Claude)

Anyhow, is this score, and others like it, actually in the public domain, and I can do anything I like with, or what?

~NightStryke
Last edited by Choralia on Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Link fixed

Choralia
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Re: Books under copyright? Yet still on IMSLP?

Postby Choralia » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:23 pm

This edition was published by Edition Peters, Leipzig, in 1969. At that time Edition Peters was under the state ownership of the East German regime that was considered "without any legal validity” by the United States. Recognition of the GDR and the establishment of diplomatic relations only occurred in 1974. The concept of copyright was also quite strange in GDR, as the copyright law stated that works protected by copyright could be used by all parts of a socialist society without the permission of the author. I guess these are the reasons why works published in the GDR before 1974 are considered public domain in the U.S.

Max

NightStryke
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Re: Books under copyright? Yet still on IMSLP?

Postby NightStryke » Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:12 pm

Interesting! Thanks for the info. I am curious though, where did you learn about this, and other such tid-bits about copyright, socialism, and the like. (I am rather interested in this kind of information!)

~NightStryke

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Re: Books under copyright? Yet still on IMSLP?

Postby Choralia » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:45 pm

An interesting article about Edition Peters is available on IMSLP:

http://imslp.org/wiki/Edition_Peters

This paper is especially about software licenses, however general intellectual property matters in GDR are covered as well:

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/JlLawInfoSci/1992/19.pdf

This is about the history of relationships between U.S. and GDR:

http://history.state.gov/countries/german-democratic-republic

Enjoy!

Max


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