2

Suppose that there is a piece of classical music (let's say written by Bach in 1726) and there is a recent arrangement (sheet music) of that piece which was made available through Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 license. Am I allowed to perform this arrangement in public? Would I be required to give attribution to the person who arranged the sheet music before performing the arrangement?

Moreover, am I allowed to record the music in the arrangement and post it online (say on YouTube)? What kind of attribution would I be required to give in this case?

1
  • See section 3(a)(1) of creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode for the specifics of how you are supposed to give attribution. In 3(a)(2) it also says that you can adapt the manner of attribution according to the medium (that point may apply to you for giving a live performance).
    – Brandin
    Jan 17, 2023 at 12:57

1 Answer 1

1

Is this arrangement protected by copyright?

There is no doubt that the original Bach composition is public domain - that is, it is not protected by copyright. Whether a modern arrangement is a copy and therefore not protected or a derivative work therefore protected depends on how substantial the change is from the original.

This arrangement is probably different enough from Bach's simply because it will be written in modern musical notation - a language unavailable to Bach. It may also be an arrangement for instruments that didn't exist for Bach: like the piano. It will, therefore, probably have a copyright of its own.

Unless it's a copy of an intermediate arrangement that is itself under copyright but let's not go there.

So, probably, it has copyright, and for you to use it, you have to do so with permission - the licence is that permission.

The CC-BY-4.0 licence

This licence allows you to share and adapt the work, providing you give attribution.

Am I allowed to perform this arrangement in public?

Yes, that's an adaptation.

Would I be required to give attribution to the person who arranged the sheet music before performing the arrangement?

You must give attribution. Before, at the same time immediately after are all good:

You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

You could do this by making an announcement, including the information in a programme, on a website about the performance, or any other reasonable way of getting the message out there.

Moreover, am I allowed to record the music in the arrangement and post it online (say on YouTube)?

Yes, that is an adaptation (film) of the adaptation (musical performance) of the original (sheet music).

What kind of attribution would I be required to give in this case?

See above.

1
  • If a piece of music says "Arranged by XX", that would imply that a performance of the music would be different from a performance of the music Bach wrote. If it says "Edited by X" or "Layout by X", then I would expect that copyright was only claimed over the visual representation of the music, and that the editor did not intend to add anything original to the underlying music the notation is supposed to represent.
    – supercat
    Apr 10, 2023 at 20:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .