Copyright committee sessions at 2005 conference in Warsaw

Monday July 11, 9:15

Information Session: First results of copyright survey

Federica Riva, Chair, Copyright Committee

At the IAML conference 2003 in Tallinn it was agreed that the Copyright Committee would attempt to gather together information about copyright from the member countries of IAML.
A survey has been carefully prepared in winter 2003 by the officers of the Committee with the help of the seven representatives of geographical areas. The survey was sent on March 23, 2004 to thirty Presidents of National Branches, whom we kindly ask to involve other IAML members or expert persons in their own country.
The purpose of this survey is of general interest but it is at the same time very specific: we want to identify at international level the main sources of the copyright issue in the field of music: this means laws, codes done by copyrightholders, guidelines prepared by music libraries or music libraries associations.

Our second aim is to identify copyright issues in the profession of music librarians to promote knowledge of the topic within IAML, a knowledge which enables us to solve everydaylife problems in a much more confident way.
What did we achieved until know? We got an answer from seventeen countries. An impressive amount of data was collected and we are now looking how to make them available. First results were already commented at the working meeting in Oslo.
Through the comparison of different systems we are achieving a better understanding of copyright in the whole, focussing issues for different type of documents: printed music, books, sound recordings and audiovisual, related to libray services, as reproduction and loan.
We want to thanks all collegues who took part in this research: their excellent work makes this attemp something really useful. This is also a good reason to recall to those presidents of national branches who did not have chance to send their answer until today that is not at all too late to add their contribution: ten european countries and two countries from Oceania are still lacking and we would like to complete this overview within next year.

So please, those of you who would catch the opportunity to have more information or to bring back home the file with the survey please contact me during the conference or at the working meeting on Wenesdaymorning at 9.15.
This working meeting starts with the discussion of a IAML position paper on Copyright issues prepared by Richard Chesser: all interested people are invited!

Monday July 11, 14:15 - 15:45

Session 1: Copyright and critical editions

Panel discussion presented by the Copyright Committee.
Chair: Federica Riva (Conservatorio di musica "A. Boito", Parma).

Critical editions: Musicologists and copyright

Philip Gossett (University of Chicago, Chicago)

As is made clear by the case of Lionel Sawkins and Hyperion Records, recently adjudicated in the Court of Appeal in the United Kingdom, the question as to whether a "critical edition" constitutes in some sense an "original" work remains controversial. The patchwork of incompatible laws in different countries, both in Europe and North America, exacerbates the matter. There are serious commercial interests involved, for companies sponsoring and paying for the publication and distribution of new critical editions, for performing organizations or record companies that decide to use or not to use these editions, and for scholars who spend years of their life preparing them. The implications spill over into libraries and the national laws that seek to regulate the photocopying of copyrighted music. The matter has been further complicated since the intemperate attacks on critical editions published by Joseph Kerman in his Contemplating Musicology in 1985, a book that did much positive work in opening musicology to new intellectual paradigms, but also encouraged a kind of self-loathing even among those committed to the publication of modern critical editions of musical scores. That the overwhelming majority of correspondents to the on-line discussion group called AMS-List sided with Hyperion Records against Sawkins continues to reflect that attitude.

In my formal contribution to the panel discussion, I will suggest that the question has been framed poorly in those countries (such as the United States and the United Kingdom) where the legal alternatives offer no intermediate alternative between a newly-composed musical work, on the one hand, and a work whose age excludes it from copyright, no matter what has been required to produce a new edition of the work, on the other. It also leads to such absurdities as the right to protect a version of a work to which the editor has added a trombone part not envisioned by the composer (something that requires little skill or time), but not the reconstruction from multiple sources of a work that no longer exists intact but has been painstakingly been returned to existence by a skilled editor.

Issues from the digital environment

John Rink (Royal Holloway, Universikty of London)

Prof. Rink partecipates in several digital projects, two of them dealing with Chopin editions: CFEO ( and OCVE ( He was also active in DIAMM ( and is involved as Assiociated director in the Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music (CHARM). All the projects are quite varied in terms of the copyright issues they raise. This first-hand experience will be presented and commented. A presentation in PDF format is available for download.

Music librarians, critical editions and copyright

Jutta Lambrecht (Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Köln)

The Westdeutsche Rundfunk (WDR- West German Radio) is one of the largest public radio stations in Europe. It produces works of music and concerts with four of its own large ensembles:

In addition the WDR produces many works in co-production with chamber music and specialised ensembles (i.e.: for ancient music).

The WDR is a station that is financed through public radio fees; it is particularly concerned with cultural assignments, and for this reason the producers are continually searching for unknown works by unknown composers, or for pieces from established composers, which have not yet been performed. One of the functions of the Sheet Music Archive (Notenarchiv) is the preparation of performance materials. This is implemented through purchase or loan of the materials, or through new orders of complete performance materials, based upon, for example, original manuscripts (of scores or parts). In isolated cases, a score already has been published in an critical edition, but there exists no accessible performance material. This is a moment when collaboration between the Score Archive and the publisher in question takes place. In the podium discussion we will elaborate upon the nature of this collaboration.

  • WDR Symphony Orchestra
  • WDR Radio Orchestra (light entertainment music)
  • WDR Radio Choir
  • WDR Big Band

The publisher's point of view

Dr. Andrzej Kosowski (Editor-in-Chief of Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne, PWM)

In 2005 Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne (known by its abbreviated name "PWM Edition") celebrates its 60th anniversary. Established in 1945, PWM was practically the first Polish music publishing house of note. For many years a monopolist on the Polish market of music publishing, PWM largely lost its privileged position after 1989, when a number of small privately owned music publishing companies were established, and academic and research centres developed their own publishing enterprises. The market really put us at PWM through our paces, and we have had to adjust our publishing and marketing policies. Suffice it to say that pre-1989, all the PWM's activities had been fully State-funded, and now the company has to generate its own revenues from sales. Since the beginning, PWM has been a state-owned enterprised modelled after numerous similar publishing houses from the former Communist bloc. In 1999, PWM was transformed into a State-owned joint-stock company. There have been two attempts to privatise the company, both cancelled in thre absence of reasonable offers from private investors as a result of the general recession in classical music publishing. The State ownership does not mean, however, that PWM has not made major changes to the way it operates. The targeted model that we have been pursuing with varying degrees of determination over the past fifteen years is to make a transition from a kind of publishing institute to a Western-style publishing house, publishing not only scores but primerly with the promotion, distribution and effective marketing.

July 13, 09:15 - 10:45

Session 2

Working meeting (open).
Chair: Federica Riva (Conservatorio di musica "A. Boito", Parma).

  • Updating the survey on copyright issues and the Copyright Committee website
  • Towards a IAML position paper on Copyright, chaired by Richard Chesser


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