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A Copyright Problem until 2084

Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:00 pm
by Peterdyson49
Dear IMSLP Moderators,
A Copyright problem.
I have been refused point blank permission (by his elderly widow) to use a poem by a World War 2 poet (writing under a pseudonym) who only died in 2014 on the grounds that she does not know me; no further discussion possible. There of course is no argument. The poem is one of four in a song cycle of 2nd World War poets I wrote in 1969 but remains unpublished and unperformed and thus no breach of copyright has ever taken place. The three other poems in the cycle are now out of copyright.
The poem in question can be found and downloaded from the internet....
I am not going to live long enough to see this poem enter the public domain. As I regard it as the "opus one" dividing line in my creativity I would like to add it to my page in the library.
I have established that the copyright of all these poems remained with the authors when they were published in an anthology in 1950 by Macmillan.
Question 1. Can I publish this song cycle on IMSLP without the words of this poem in the score but showing the title of the poem and the name of its author? (with a footnote that the poem remains in copyright until 2084 in the UK).
Question 2. Can I published this song cycle on IMSLP without the words of this poem the score but include a link to the library site where it can be found? (with a footnote that the poem remains in copyright until 2084 in the UK).
Of course it is no loss to the world if this particular work remains out of view, but my tidying up would prefer it to sit on IMSLP with everything else rather than just as a manuscript in the Conservatory Library with everything else in due course.
Views and a policy decision please.
Peter Dyson

Re: A Copyright Problem until 2084

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:39 pm
by bicinium
First of all, my condolences for being in this situation. I don't think you could've uploaded the poem here either way, unless you had managed to persuade the widow to choose one of the creative commons licenses.

I don't dare give a definite answer, but compare with the situation of George Gershwin's brother Ira, who was librettist in some of George's works, but died in 1983. Uploads of those works are permitted as long as they are purely instrumental:,_Ira/Librettist

I am fairly certain that referring to a work by name and author does not constitute a copyright violation, but cannot guarantee.

I also assume that linking to the text is fine if the linked source does not violate copyright, but again cannot guarantee.

If you can afford to risk the time and effort, upload a textless version and see what the copyright reviewers decide.

Re: A Copyright Problem until 2084

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:36 am
by Carolus
The answer to question one is "yes". Names, titles and short phrases are not subject to copyright in nearly all locations.

Number two is more in the "maybe" category. A link, in an of itself, doesn't constitute an infringement. However, a link as you describe could be considered as "contributory infringement" in some jurisdictions. It's probably OK for Canada and US, but ading such a link might well result in a takedown demand sent to the site linked to.