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copyright on manuscripts.

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greg stephens 15 Mar 04 - 09:42 AM
greg stephens 15 Mar 04 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,John Hernandez 15 Mar 04 - 11:52 AM
Nigel Parsons 15 Mar 04 - 12:11 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Mar 04 - 12:36 PM
Nigel Parsons 15 Mar 04 - 12:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Mar 04 - 12:49 PM
Nigel Parsons 15 Mar 04 - 12:54 PM
Malcolm Douglas 15 Mar 04 - 01:13 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Mar 04 - 01:14 PM
greg stephens 15 Mar 04 - 01:35 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Mar 04 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,MMario 15 Mar 04 - 03:31 PM
Uncle_DaveO 15 Mar 04 - 07:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Mar 04 - 08:46 PM
greg stephens 16 Mar 04 - 03:44 AM
AKS 16 Mar 04 - 06:27 AM
greg stephens 16 Mar 04 - 06:33 AM
Nigel Parsons 16 Mar 04 - 06:50 AM
greg stephens 16 Mar 04 - 06:56 AM
KateG 16 Mar 04 - 08:34 AM
greg stephens 16 Mar 04 - 08:51 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Mar 04 - 12:35 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Mar 04 - 01:21 PM
AKS 17 Mar 04 - 09:09 AM
danensis 18 Mar 04 - 08:17 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Mar 04 - 07:03 PM
AKS 19 Mar 04 - 06:55 AM
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Subject: copyright on manuscripts.
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 09:42 AM

Can anybody shed any light on this (in Britain I waas thinking of, but anywhere else would be of interest). I'm sure I've read that physical ownership of a manuscript can in some circumstances give rights to the owner, irrepsective of who actually wrote it. Say I owned a manuscript with a hitherto unpublished tune in it, and the composer is dead (a long time ago say, more than the time copyrights expire in). In this hypothetical case, would I have any rights? I am sure I would have rights in the physcal reproductions of the manuscript, but how about the music therin? Anybody know about this?


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 09:44 AM

I dont actually own any such manuscripts, I'm just intrigued(you hear so many different theories).


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: GUEST,John Hernandez
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 11:52 AM

It is my understanding that in the USA you can only claim the copyright on that which you created or on that which you hired another to create in your behalf. I know, for example, that in the instance of a ltter written by Marilyn Monroe, a court ruled that the physical letter belonged to the recipient, but the copyright(i.e. the ownership of the literary work) belonged to Marilyn's heirs.


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 12:11 PM

See the current thread Copyright laws on Kipling which covers much of this topic.
The quotes therein do not make it clear whether copyright subsits to 70 yrs from death of author, or 70 yrs from first publication (whichever is earlier, or whichever is later??)
This means that the law (as quoted) does not make it clear whether a newly found piece by (say) Bach has any copyright value at all. But from the prices such items seem to raise I would assume that as an 'unpublished' work, the purchaser is assuming they have a 70 claim on copyright.

Nigel


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 12:36 PM

I have posted this before, but look at the US government booklet on copyright, available on the net at USA Copyright
A full explanation of the USA regulations is found there. Under the heading 'frequently asked questions, note that protection for works after Jan 1, 1978 can last up to 120 years after creation. For subsisting copyrights, it gets complicated, but most of the information is there if you read through the Law.

The many cases in the courts show, however, that there are differing interpretations. Look at all of the fancy footwork involved in the amendment endnotes to Chapter 3 in the Copyright Law booklet.

A work copyright in UK (or elsewhere) may also be copyrighted in USA; in the USA the latter would prevail (see previous threads on "Waltzing Matilda" where American copyright rules on the tune prevented its performance at the Olympic games in Salt Lake City).

Not too long ago, copyright protection came off most of Beatrix Potter's works; Warne lost its exclusive rights and other publishers came into the field. For legal trivialists, the copyright story here should be interesting. The illustrations may have differed from text in protection.


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 12:40 PM

PM sent to Joe to try and avoid a repetition of all that has oft been stated before. Also a suggestion that this may be worthy of a "permathread"

Nigel


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 12:49 PM

The comments by Hernandez on US MSS are pertinent.
If you discover a long lost Bach MS score, the form in which it is brought to publication is copyright. Most orchestras or individuals wishing to perform the work would buy the published, copyrighted score.


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 12:54 PM

Q: However, the point Hernandez made was about the copyright of Marilyn Monroe's letters subsisting with her heirs. A Bach MS would not have the same effect as the heirs can only inherit that which the deceased possessed. Bach's copyright would have continued for 70 years after his death (these days) He could not pass to his heirs a copyright which exceeded that time period. Marilyn's writings would, of course, still be in copyright

Nigel


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 01:13 PM

Greg's question related to unpublished MS material. If the owner of the MS publishes it, then copyright runs from that point in the normal way on the published work: if it is recent and the provenance is known, then the heirs of the writer would presumably have some interest, though I wouldn't know to what extent. While it remains unpublished, it is simply the property of the current owner, and it is for the owner to decide on questions of access and accompanying conditions: it could not, for example, be reproduced without the owner's consent.


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 01:14 PM

I did not say that Bach's heirs would have rights, only that the publisher has rights to the form in which he publishes the work. These are rights any publisher has, protecting his publication from pirating.


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 01:35 PM

Nobody has managed to answer my specific query, I think. Jo Bloggs wrote an MS in say 1700. there is a tune in it unknown in any previous or subsequent publcation or MS. Jo Bloggs personal copyright(or his heir's) I presume are long expired. Has the current owner of the MS any rights in the tune? (i know they have rights in the reproduction of photos or photocopies of the manuscript). this is not a point I have seen covered.
    And for a really intriguing question(this is not hypothetical, I know of just such a case). We start with the Jo Bloggs scenario as above. Somebody makes a handwritten copy of a section of the manuscript. The manuscript is lost. Who9if anyone)owns any rights? And will that be affected in any way if the original manuscript is subsequently found?


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 03:27 PM

There is under English law a provision (but I cannot put my finger on it this moment) giving some publication right in relation to an (otherwise) public domain work not previously ever published (or maybe it is one of the trick features that has been repealed - I will ahve to check when I ahve time). I should have teh paperwork on it on a shelf not far from here. I think it might be the 1995 or 1997 regulations that did it, whatever it was.


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 03:31 PM

if I remember the fine print in the US laws there is something in them as well.


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 07:02 PM

There are plenty of instances in US folkloric history of collectors publishing a song which had existed in the public domain, publishing it for the first time, and having copyright, at least in practice. That copyright would, it's true, be only on the version the collector published, but if that's the only thing out there in published form, that's what almost anyone is going to be working from, and they'd be bound by the copyright. At least that's my take on it.

Now, Q said:
The comments by Hernandez on US MSS are pertinent.
If you discover a long lost Bach MS score, the form in which it is brought to publication is copyright. Most orchestras or individuals wishing to perform the work would buy the published, copyrighted score.


Seems to me the holder of the Bach score would be in a similar position. He could arrange with an editor, under contract, to place the score in modern form, reserving all rights to the holder. If the published edition is a good job, it will be the standard form of the Bach piece. At least to begin with.

I suppose the holder would have to publish photos of the manuscript and description of the provenance of the manuscript in order to establish that his modern edition is indeed of Bach. And, yes, others would get out their own editions of the Bach piece, working from the photos of the original, but the first edition out would have a running start in the market.

That's my $.02 worth.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 08:46 PM

Uncle Dave, you are correct in that the original holder is a participant. In cutting to the end use by a performer, steps were left out.

Most manuscripts that are 'discovered' have been buried in the archives of some institution. In order to go through its collections, one would have signed a legal agreement that reserves certain rights and limits on use to the institution. Moreover, one normally agrees that the original remains in their hands.
The next step is arrangement for publication. The 'discoverer' (who generally has bona fides or would not have been given access in the first place) ordinarily would arrange the material for publication and gain the interest a publisher or recording company. Agreements must satisfy all parties.


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 03:44 AM

Malcolm Douglas has posted here, and presumably has some knowledge of the C Sharp House position on MS collections and copyright(they must have taken legal opinions on this). Any chance of accessing the C Sharp opinion on this sort of thing to add to this thread? It is a subject that comes up again and again in various forms, and the position is extremely unclear to us ordinary citizens. I appreciate the law may be a bit vague due to lack of test cases (who's got the money to sue?), but some sort of guidelines must exist. I appreciate that a lot of people have given opinions here, but nobody has got near to answering my question.
    I have a feeling that the EFDSS may be the only people who come near knowing the answer.


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: AKS
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 06:27 AM

re Greg's "Has the current owner of the MS any rights in the tune?"

None whatsoever; the ms itself shows that the tune has been 'there' at least 200+ years, so the possibility that the composer has died less than 70 years ago, is zero.

The rest of the matter is a bit ambiguous of course, but I strongly doubt that - at least in EU - the owner would have any copyright in the ms either; it is, as a piece of art and product of genius, comparable with a painting (eg), and when the cr in it has expired, there's no getting it back.

After publishing, a new object of copyright is at hand, and other rules apply.

AKS


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 06:33 AM

AKS: surely what you saying is completely wrong as regards paintings? Dont the museums who own the Van Goghs etc own the rights to reproduce the postcards? Even if the pictures are old? Or am I wrong on this(a possibility I admit to!)


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 06:50 AM

Greg:
Now we're getting into murky realms. As I understand it,the museums who own the paintings can restrict the availabilty of the painting by banning cameras.
This would mean that the only legally available pictures of the painting are those authorised by the museum (This is a copyrightable form as a new medium). Presumably the museum insists that photographs they have taken of the painting have the copyright assigned to the museum (rather than to the photographer)
The copyright on the original photographs would normally last for the life of the photographer + 70 years. Although the photograph may be made commercially available, or even pass into the public domain. However, I would expect any postcards or guidebooks issued by the museums to be clearly marked as reserving the copyright, to prevent the images passing into the public domain by that route.

Nigel


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 06:56 AM

It's that "passing into the public domain" stuff that I'm asking about. Has a tune in an unpublished manuscript "passed into the public domain", even if it's never been reproduced before? And, more complicated, if someone has copied it into another manuscript, and then lost the first one, whats the situation?


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: KateG
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 08:34 AM

As I understand things (speaking from a museum perspective), there are several kinds of rights to a work and they do not necessarily go together. Among them are rights of display, performance, reproduction, alteration etc.

Initially, the creator of the work holds all the rights. When a work is sold some, but not all, of the rights are transferred to the new owner. Thus, if you buy a painting from an artist, transfer of the right to display it is implied in the sale: but if you want to make postcards to sell in your gift shop, or have it stabilized before it falls to pieces (a headache for modern art museum and "avant garde" works), etc. then you had better make sure that those rights are stipulated in your bill of sale.

With older works, by long-dead artists, the work is in the public domain and copyright cannot be re-established by the current owner. What the museum/owner controls is access to the image and the right to reproduce it and copyright on the reproduction.

In the case of your newly-discovered manuscript, as I understand it, the tune is in the public domain because the creator is long dead, but the owner can copyright the publication in which the tune appears.

However, this, like all else is subject to all sorts of legal shennanigans, so I would consult a good copyright attorney before doing anything rash.


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 08:51 AM

lawyers cost money, and my impression anyway is that the legal position in England is actually far from clear. And then imagine a lawsuit over the respective ages of a published dance collection and a manuscript, both c 1750 (this is all purely hypothetical, I dont own old manuscripts, thought I do research them). And since the likely royalties from recording an old song or fiddle tune might be in pence rather than pounds, the full majesty of the bewigged judges and barristers would be a bit much, just to determine who had rights to the loot.
Let's put the question another way. Has any museum (or individual) ever tried to establish any rights in some music, just because it happened to own a book, published or manuscript?


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 12:35 PM

Greg, I am one step closer. I am now pretty sure it's the 1995 statutory instrument (the one implimenting the lending and rental rights directive, 92/100) that brings in a quasi-copyright for the first publisher of a previously unpublished (and other wise out of copyright) manuscript.

But I am very short of time this week to check. The SI should be available on the internet as it's 1992 (oyez) and the directive surely will be, try europa.


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 01:21 PM

I have requisitioned art work and 19th c. photographs from a local archive (Glenbow Museum)for study and possible publication. Here are some of the statements from the agreement. First of all they provide a copy (at my expense), not the original.
"Permission for reproduction must be obtained specifically, either at the time or at a later date."
"....released for publication by letter after payment of publication fees."
"The researcher assumes all responsibility under terms of the Copyright Act for use of images..."
"...must be credited to Glenbow and should credit the original [artist, photogrpher, etc.] where known."
"...[item] shall not be retouched or altered in any way which could affect their historical or artistic integrity."
"Glenbow Museum reserves the right to approve colour separation proofs before final reproduction." (Applies to photos and artwork)

Similar restrictions on some kinds of manuscripts. The last two statements show that their control extends to the way in which the material is published, thus effectively creating a troika between Museum, researcher and publisher.


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: AKS
Date: 17 Mar 04 - 09:09 AM

I think the English term "copyright" is somewhat inadequate to describe the whole matter, as it suggests that it's only about copying. Copyright means - if taken to the extreme - that the author CAN dictate how, when, where, by whom etc her/his 'product' may be used (from "not at all" to "ultimate freedom of use by anybody"). Nevertheless, any restriction set by the author expires the minute the copyright expires.

Whether the 'product' has been published or not, is of NO significance. If it can be 'evidenced' that the 'product' is by the author and s/he has been proved dead for more than 70 (well, 71 to be dead sure) years, the product IS public domain.

Thus, if I manage to smuggle a camera into "a museum of medieval art" (where no camera's allowed) and take photos of their complete collection (without the staff noticing, of course, and later turn them into a million seller book;-), they might sue me for who knows what, but NOT for breaking painters' copyrights.

AKS


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: danensis
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 08:17 AM

I'm interested in family history, and the question of copyright often crops up. A number of people may collect information on when their family members were born, married or died, and publish them. If someone else copies this information as it is, then there is a breach of copyright not on the information itself, which is in the public domain, but on the arrangement of it. In English law there is also a separate piece of legislation covering databases, which can be protected as a block of data.

Wasn't there a legal action my Martin Carthy against someone who used his arrangement of a traditional folk song - clearly the words of the song were out of copyright, but the particular arrangement of words and music was an artistic creation of Martin and therfore covered by copyright.

To go back to the original question, a photocopy of the manuscript could be covered by copyright, but no-one could stop you whistling the tune.


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 07:03 PM

AKS - No, you need to understand more law.


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Subject: RE: copyright on manuscripts.
From: AKS
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 06:55 AM

Indeed, Richard, indeed! ;-)

AKS


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