Out of print title - can I photocopy?
  • argentarius
    Posts: 46
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  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,010
    Ultimately, that permission would have to come from the publisher.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,425
    1. Is the text copyright?
    2. Is the music copyright?
    If they are not copyright you could make your own edition.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,773
    Well, unless you're streaming, then no one will know or care.
  • argentarius
    Posts: 46
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  • Liam
    Posts: 4,671
    28 years hasn't been a relevant copyright period for a long time in the USA. Only pre-1927 works are considered generally to be in the public domain. Otherwise, much depends on the details.
  • Argentarius,

    Copyright laws vary from place to place -- and so CPDL says things such as "this piece may be under copyright in your country".
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,126
    [As I understand it] - In the USA, although for pre 1978 works there was a requirement to renew, if they were still in copyright on Jan ! !978 this was automatically extended for a further 67 years after expiry. So nothing will come out of copyright until 2045.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,010
    I am certainly not advocating or giving you permission to do anything illegal. You need to do some more research on your own, but I will admit that I recently shared an organ collection with someone under the following conditions:

    1. • the composer was deceased
    2. • used copies were unavailable to purchase (I did an extensive web search; I acquired my copy of this collection used and it appears I was either lucky or just happened to snag one of the last extant copies)
    3. • the work is listed on directories and online sellers as "permanently out of print"
    4. • it appears that the publishing house no longer even exists, so it's not even a case of a publisher maintaining copyright but simply refusing to re-issue the score; there is no entity, as far as I can tell, that could even authorize a reprint (or make a copyright claim)

    In the case of the above, I felt that it was morally justifiable to share a scan with someone because used copies were no longer available for purchase anywhere on the web and the publishers and composers were—as far as I could tell—literally defunct. In other words: the music would literally fade into obscurity with nothing to stop it, and no one to offend, as it were, by sharing the music.

    Perhaps OCP can grant you written permission to make copies based on your extant copy.
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,671
    Sidebar: Micky Mouse enters public domain on 1 Jan 2024. Micky was the reason for the last round of copyright extensions in 1998 sponsored by the late Sonny Bono.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,081
    What is the piece?
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,773
    I think it's 1923.

    Serviam, I mean, I have much less to lose than you by saying "just copy and perform" but I've been known to give books away which are definitely in copyright as well as foreign works in a similarly-ambiguous copyright situation.
  • argentarius
    Posts: 46
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  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 614
    If you're not trying to sell it or profit from it and the publisher can't find it then you can copy it for your choir members. If you use it in a worship aid or you plan to sing it, give proper credit to the author and composer. I doubt anyone will kick up a big fuss.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,671
    "I think it's 1923."

    That was the dividing year since 1998 (75 years) until 4 years ago. Now the 95 year period moves forward every January 1st. In the USA, works created in 1923, 1924, 1925 (Great Gatsby among others) and, most recently, 1926 are now public domain. 1927 goes PD next Jan 1, and 1928 on 1/1/2024. (Once we get to works published in or after 1978, there's a 120 year period that can apply, so things will get more complicated....)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_law_of_the_United_States#Duration_of_copyright
  • francis
    Posts: 10,081
    Why use a text by debruyn When there are so much better texts In the public domain?
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,582
    Oops, Wrong thread
  • Felicia
    Posts: 95
    @Liam: Thank you for the link and your explanation. This is basically how it was explained to me. Since you know who the publisher is, you should be able to contact them. Better safe than sorry.

  • MarkB
    Posts: 865
    If you feel guilty about it, send a check for $25 to OCP.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,081
    Or you can pray a rosary for me and I will “dialogue” with them
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • Felicia
    Posts: 95
    Publishers deal with things like this all the time. It's worth a phone call, letter, or e-mail.
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 187
    It sounds like the piece is still in copyright. You should call the publisher. I would hope that for a minor fee they would allow you to make copies. Perhaps you can trade copies for your group against giving the publisher a copy back that it can add to back to its catalogue.
  • Marc Cerisier
    Posts: 459
    Generally a request such as this is handled though the licensing department, not the sales department—so the person who told you it was not possible might have been misinformed.

    On the other hand, OCP’s more unique practice of the composer retaining the copyright does add complication to the transaction in some circumstances, though I’ve licensed the reprinting of out of print works they publish in the past without issue.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • amindthatsuits
    Posts: 817
    Argentius, I stumbled on the link below. There is even now a whole book. If it is for a service, then there is an exemption. As OCP is still very much with us, there is no chance the copyright has expired if it is theirs. I think that you are covered for singers by the exemption, but if you still have questions, I would ask OCP again.

    https://christiancopyrightsolutions.com/blog/three-steps-understanding-religious-service-exemption/

    Kenneth
  • MarkB
    Posts: 865
    I believe the religious service copyright exemption applies exclusively to performances of music during a religious service, not to the reproduction of printed music still under copyright protection used in the performance, which is what the original poster asked about.
  • Mark,

    Parse that for me? The copyright exemption applies to music performed, but not to the music itself?
  • amindthatsuits
    Posts: 817
    This is why a reference guide and not our opinions is important. My memory is that, as applied (meaning from court cases), it means that each singer can get a copy, though not the instrumentalists. This is why lawyers make money.

    MarkB is entirely correct that performance rights and copying rights are two separate things, and I thank him for reminding me of that.

    Does your choir memorize well?, he asks impishly.

    I personally think you are fine. I say you are covered by something called "fair use," though the copyright holder pretty much gets to determine that. So after all these words, I suggest asking OCP again.

    Kenneth
  • argentarius
    Posts: 46
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  • amindthatsuits
    Posts: 817
    Glad to hear it.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,671
    "Does your choir memorize well?, he asks impishly."

    And that is the dispositive question on that point. You may pass your lawfully purchased (or lawfully borrowed from a lending library, et cet.) single copy from person to person, and those people are free to memorize it well and perform it. They and you are not, however, free to copy that copy if it remains under copyright.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Elmar
    Posts: 466
    It may sound ridiculous, but it is a serious question:

    Assuming you are allowed to sing from that single copy with several singers at the same time; would the following be OK? (in contrast to sharing a digital copy / photo on-line):
    You have a video conference with your choir members, in the same room, everybody holding his/her tablet on which they see what your webcam transmits: your sheet music...

    (no screen shots nor recording the conference of course)
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,107
    I believe that U.S. copyright law requires a purchased copy for each member of the choir.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,081
    "Does your choir memorize well?, he asks impishly."
    ummm... this is a form of electronic reproduction! you can no doey!
  • Francis,

    No, it's neurochemical reproduction.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Liam
  • Elmar
    Posts: 466
    I believe that U.S. copyright law requires a purchased copy for each member of the choir.
    Does that mean that they aren't allowed to sing in pairs from one copy?
    - If you have a (one) legal digital copy; are you allowed to project it on a large screen for the choir? During rehearsal? During the service?
    - For a paper copy, there used to be an apparatus called 'episcope' that optically projects a book page on a movie screen; may that be used for sheet music in rehearsal/service?
    - Would I be infringing copyright in the US if I held a music page in front of the camera in a video conference for all participants to see?
    Francis, No, it's neurochemical reproduction.
    There certainly is a way of treating this as copyright infringement. Lawyers are creative...
    Why should a copy be more legal when the electric device used to make it runs on biomolecules rather than on semiconductors?
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,010
    Would I be infringing copyright in the US if I held a music page in front of the camera in a video conference for all participants to see?
    Yes. This case is fairly cut and dry, because in this case you would be “broadcasting” the copyrighted image, which could then be captured via screen grab. This is the same reason why YouTube videos that have animated scores cannot show the complete score of a work (only portions) if the score is still under copyright; the obvious exception being if it’s the copyright owner who produces and posts the video, and they choose to show the whole thing. But it’s common for pages to be redacted.
    Thanked by 2Elmar Liam
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,107
    From the U.S. Copyright Office

    Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use and identifies certain types of uses—such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research—as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use. Section 107 calls for consideration of the following four factors in evaluating a question of fair use:

    Purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes: Courts look at how the party claiming fair use is using the copyrighted work, and are more likely to find that nonprofit educational and noncommercial uses are fair. This does not mean, however, that all nonprofit education and noncommercial uses are fair and all commercial uses are not fair; instead, courts will balance the purpose and character of the use against the other factors below. Additionally, “transformative” uses are more likely to be considered fair. Transformative uses are those that add something new, with a further purpose or different character, and do not substitute for the original use of the work.
    Nature of the copyrighted work: This factor analyzes the degree to which the work that was used relates to copyright’s purpose of encouraging creative expression. Thus, using a more creative or imaginative work (such as a novel, movie, or song) is less likely to support a claim of a fair use than using a factual work (such as a technical article or news item). In addition, use of an unpublished work is less likely to be considered fair.
    Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole: Under this factor, courts look at both the quantity and quality of the copyrighted material that was used. If the use includes a large portion of the copyrighted work, fair use is less likely to be found; if the use employs only a small amount of copyrighted material, fair use is more likely. That said, some courts have found use of an entire work to be fair under certain circumstances. And in other contexts, using even a small amount of a copyrighted work was determined not to be fair because the selection was an important part—or the “heart”—of the work.
    Effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work: Here, courts review whether, and to what extent, the unlicensed use harms the existing or future market for the copyright owner’s original work. In assessing this factor, courts consider whether the use is hurting the current market for the original work (for example, by displacing sales of the original) and/or whether the use could cause substantial harm if it were to become widespread.
    In addition to the above, other factors may also be considered by a court in weighing a fair use question, depending upon the circumstances. Courts evaluate fair use claims on a case-by-case basis, and the outcome of any given case depends on a fact-specific inquiry. This means that there is no formula to ensure that a predetermined percentage or amount of a work—or specific number of words, lines, pages, copies—may be used without permission.

    Please note that the Copyright Office is unable to provide specific legal advice to individual members of the public about questions of fair use. See 37 C.F.R. 201.2(a)(3).

    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,107
    Here is a link to the U.S. Copyright Law
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • francis
    Posts: 10,081
    One solution. Use music that is PD whenever possible.

    neurochemical reproduction
    This does not intimidate lawyers from pouncing.
    Thanked by 2Elmar tomjaw
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,010
    One solution. Use music that is PD whenever possible.
    That very solution is working quite well for us. We are almost exclusively singing public domain music which means I can create my own editions of everything.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • francis
    Posts: 10,081
    @serviamscores

    most TLM parishes do the same i reckon...
    Thanked by 2tomjaw a_f_hawkins