Copyright and the Graduale Romanum
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    Anyone with knowledge or wild conjecture, please weigh in on any or all of the following specific issues/questions. Please note that these questions specifically refer to the CURRENT edition of the Graduale Romanum, in use for the Novus Ordo / Ordinary Form Mass.

    1. Most of the individual chants of the Graduale Romanum are old enough to be public domain. Therefore, re-typesetting, recording, copying is just fine. Yes?
    2. Some of the individual chants of the GR are recent compositions, and are therefore potentially subject to copyright restriction.
      • Is there any (reasonable) way of knowing which ones?
      • Who would be the holder of such copyright? Solesmes Abbey? The Vatican? The specific monk who wrote it?
      • Is there any expectation or precedent for the enforcement of such copyright?

    3. Considering that the specific arrangement of chants throughout the year was updated/changed to match the Novus Ordo calendar:
      • Would the specific arrangement of chants as laid out in the GR be subject to copyright?
      • Who would be the holder of such copyright? Solesmes Abbey? The Vatican?
      • Is there any expectation or precedent for the enforcement of such copyright?

    4. Generally speaking, the specific layout/production/edition of otherwise Public Domain material is considered copyrightable. (For example, you can copyright your own typesetting a of a Bach Chorale). So:
      • Are the specific editions of each specific chant in the GR, as printed therein, under copyright?
      • Who would be the holder of such copyright? Solesmes Abbey? The Vatican?
      • Is there any expectation or precedent for the enforcement of such copyright?

    5. Various groups and scholars have produced editions of the GR as a whole (Gradual Novum; Graduale Triplex) which reproduce/collate information from one or more ancient manuscripts.
      • Are the markings themselves, and the informaiton they contain, under copyright?
      • Are the original sources for this information freely available online?
      • Are the scanned images of the original manuscripts under copyrights (as, for example, works of artistic photography)?
      • Is there any expectation or precedent for the enforcement of such copyright?

    6. (This question is specifically for JMO) CCW's site has managed to obtain and publish recordings of a huge number of GR chants, being sung in the context of liturgy. These recordings are clearly subject to copyright enforcement:
      • Has the owner of these recordings given you (JMO), CCW, or anyone else "carte blanche" to use these without restriction?
      • Have they been released under any sort of Creative Commons, Public Domain, or other free-culture license?
      • Considering what you know about the person/organization who owns them, is it likely they would do so if asked?

    7. In short: what would be the legal or practical IP issues involved with any or all of the following actions:
      • Re-creating the GR from scratch, using (for example) Gregorio or Lilypond?
      • Making such recreations available for free or for purchase?
      • Reproducing the GR, as is, in alternate editions (Large Print, Spiral Bound, etc)
      • Re-creating, publishing, and/or distributing the GR or individual chants with the additional information provided in sources like the Triplex or the Graduale Novum?
      • Providing scanned copies of chants from the GR in a web interface for the purposes of providing transcriptionists a source for re-creating said chants in (for example) GABC or Lilypond notation?
      • Providind scanned copies of ancient manuscripts, for the same purpose?
      • Creating and distributing translations of the GR in its entirety or individual chants from it?

    I know some of you have dealt specifically with these issues (JMO, Adam Bartlett, etc), and others may have additional insight. I know some of the matter is complicated by the fact that US and European IP law differs, and that some of these issues involve non-trivial intepretations of legislation and case law.
    So, um.... ok- go!
    Thanked by 2jczarn igneus
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    Thanked by 1francis
  • SkirpRSkirpR
    Posts: 854
    I wouldn't know where to start, other than saying in some cases it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Regarding number 7, this has been done already.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    Regarding number 7, this has been done already.

    That does not look open-source. (??)
    Also, it looks like it uses the pre-V2 GR. (??)
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    My opinion (which is to say, the opinion of some guy on the Internet, which is to say, an utterly unreliable utterance by a stranger):

    1. Yes.
    2. •Don't know.
    •Don't know.
    •Not that I'm aware of.
    3. •Doubtful; arrangement of a liturgical calendar doesn't look like an original creative work because it's dictated by particular rules about when saints days are recognized.
    •Vatican, because it made the calendar.
    •Not that I'm aware of.
    4. •Doubtful as to the public domain chants because there really is no original creative content in the typesetting, which is mainly dictated by font size and page size.
    •whoever published the book, so for the 1974 GR Solesmes
    •Not that I'm aware of
    5.•depends on whether the markings are original works or just copied from PD manuscripts. If latter, copyright claim seems doubtful except maybe as to exact facsimile.
    •don't know.
    •highly unlikely because its just an exact facsimile, no original content added
    •not that I'm aware of
    6. Directed to JMO
    7.•none except as to new chant compositions, and it's probably unlikely a claim would be made as to those.
    •same as above
    •same as above
    •none unless the arrangement of the special markings are original works
    •None except possibly as to new chant compositions
    •none except possibly as to new chant compositions

    YMMV is a bit of an understatement here.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • francis
    Posts: 10,711
    I would check with the office of divine worship first, and from there move onto asking forvigeness for any offense you may have committed after publication. In the end, all rights will eventually default back to Jesus and Mary.
    Thanked by 1SkirpR
  • I already wrote what broad claims Solesmes through their publisher Desclee made for the Liber usualis. I don't have the 1974 Gradual, but for the Graduale triplex, the claims are diminished, there is written only
    Omnia jura vindicabuntur in universam nostram excogitandi scribendique rhythmi rationem. Desclee & socii
    As the copyright holder is marked S. A. la Froidfontaine that appears to be managing the temporal affairs of Solesmes. Since they do not claim the more recent melodies any more then apparently the only copyrighted matter remains the placement of episemes.

    Vatican does not enforce its rights on the content of liturgical books. Since neither the Graduale novum nor Sandhofe's Nocturnale romanum uses episemes, but they do use neography, it would appear that the latter is not under copyright.

    Anyway, you should look what copyright notice your book contains. From the above it seems that the melodies are free. The horizontal episemes you can place independently directly from the digitalized manuscripts. The only 'restricted' thing then would be the placement of ictuses.
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood igneus