Special option to Upload as "Public Domain" for **Chord-Only** charts of copyrighted song

• Dec 3, 2020 - 21:51

I've been uploading Chord-only charts of jazz standards to https://musescore.com/user/10401/sets/5106077 for public access.

In MuseScore's upload dialog, I have been naming the scores according to the setting the scores as "$songname - $composer (chords only)" and put a notice like the following in the description:

"Public Domain, because chord progressions NOT copyrightable."

However, under copyright & download settings, there is only one option selectable under "Public Domain". That option is "Creative Commons copyright waiver":

So I'm forced to select "Creative Commons copyright waiver" although that option doesn't quite express the nature of my upload. It is not that I am waiving copyright to the score I'm uploading, but rather that the score contains no copyrightable elements to being with. Chord Progressions and Rhythms and Song Titles are not copyrightable.

(Note that it would be easy for MuseScore to verify that the only note elements the score contains are slash note heads on a single pitch by simply scanning every note element and checking that the pitch is constant.)

The next problem I encounter is that the score upload only provides a binary option for "Is this your original work":


To be honest, I must select "No", because the score is based on a copyrighted work. Even though no copyrightable material from that work is in the upload. I feel important to link the original work, even though the score contains no copyrightable material from that original work.

Unfortunately, I have already received a take-down notice for one chord-only score "A Foggy Day". I'm well-experienced in receiving unjust take-down notices. But I don't feel it is right for them to file a claim.

I would like to continue uploading the entire database of chord progressions for jazz standards.

It seems that the problem could be addressed by providing a option in the score upload process under "Public Domain" that is simply "no copyrightable material" for scores that contain no copyrightable material.

The other option I can think of is to lie when MuseScore asks me if the score was based on another work.

BTW, much thanks to https://github.com/infojunkie/ireal-musicxml for developing a open-source program to automatically-convert iReal Pro format chord charts to MusicXML.


Great job polishing up the output of the converter, and thanks for doing all this manual labour!

The internet is full of confirmations that "Song Titles and Chord Progressions are not copyright protected". I'm not a lawyer to argue the finer points, but seems correct to add a corresponding option to the "status of the work" dialog that MuseScore.com shows.

In reply to by ericfontainejazz

Actually I had uploaded a copyrighted song, it got marked as a copyright violation regardless being unlisted in the first place, which I find pretty strange, the song was never public and never will be.
Whatever, my dispute was not about the copyright violation in general, just about the copyright violation as claimed. The claimee (Kobalt Music) is not the same as the publisher (Northern Songs, published by permission of Music Sale Ltd.) of that particular song (Yesterday, Lennon, McCartney) and arrangement (Gustav Gunsenheimer), which I even explicitly listed in the copyright section of the score.
I never got any reply to my dispute / counter claim :-(

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