I am not a lawyer (nor do I play one on TV.) Nevertheless, from my lay perspective, the claim of legal protection for the 19th C. manuscripts on the website of the Milan Conservatory strikes me as similar, if not identical, to the claims of copyright protection now in litigation in the Coetzee lawsuit (British National Portrait Gallery v. Wikipedia.) In that case, counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, representing D. Coetzee, responded with a letter stating the grounds for no protection in the US :https://www.eff.org/files/July%2019%20l ... rrerCo.pdf
To summarize, he made 4 main points:
Under U.S. laws,
1. the photographs of the NPG’s public domain paintings are not copyrightable.
2. your client possesses no independent “database rights,” as such rights are not
recognized under U.S. law
3. your client’s “browsewrap” contract claims are specious
4. your client’s circumvention claims are baseless, as the “Zoomify” technology
previously used on NPG’s website does not effectively control access to a work
protected under copyright law.
It seems to me that if the Milan conservatory decided to post on its public website photographic images of its manuscript collection, then anyone in the U. S. can legally copy, edit, post online, publish and sell those manuscripts for profit; moreover, they can perform, record and broadcast those works -- which are all PD in the US.
What do the legal eagles on IMSLP think?