A Few Questions About Copyright

• May 11, 2019 - 04:16

I have a lot of questions about copyright, especially about musescore. So I decided to ask them all here.
1. How come there are so many scores originally from other people, and they don't seem to give proper credit?
2. I have written a song that is now private, which is an arrangement of another band's song. It is Solitude, by Candlemass. How do I find out what kind of copyright they applied. I know that if it's attribution, or creative commons, then I can post it. But the chances are they have all rights for it. It is from a late 1980's album called Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. Any information the type of copyright they applied is greatly appreciated. And I know that different time eras have different copyright rules. I don't really want to contact them because it is awkward.
3. Can rhythm, scales, chord progressions, intervals, etc, be copyrighted? How about an arpeggio that goes up and down in a certain way? If I transpose it, may I use it?
4. How do music books get to have copyright on their versions of classical songs? It is clearly in public domain by now.
5. What do I do if I feel my rights are infringed?
6. My main question is can I print out scores even though the fonts on the score are copyrighted? I would really love to.
Thank you to all who answer, and thanks to Jojo-Schmitz and Shoichi in advance.


I can answer the question about classical music books and copyrights. They don't copyright a Bach Partita per se, instead they copyright their specific rendition, i.e. the engraving, the spacing, the font choice, the editorial notes, etc, effectively the whole enchilada. You're free to make your own rendition.

I don't think rhythm patterns, intervals, arpeggios, and scales can be copyrighted--they are well known entities and they all predate copyright. Pedagogical text about how to use them, however, CAN BE. Chord progressions certainly can not be, that's already gone to court and lost, otherwise IrealPro would have had their cojones sued off.

If you feel your rights are infringed AND you have a boatload of money, hire a lawyer and take 'em to court. Realistically, most of us just have to suck it up. Sorry if I'm being cynical, but copyright justice typically goes to the highest bidder, deepest pockets, etc.

I think you can reasonably print any digital score you happen to run across for personal use. Where you might get into trouble is if you try to SELL it.

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