J. Sibelius copyright & fair use

Inspired by the recent Mozart playback comparison debate, I set about transcribing Sibelius’ Tapiola with the idea of making it available for folks to try out their various setups with.

Now, Sibelius’ copyright status is ambiguous at present: out of copyright in the US, but still in copyright (till 2027) in Europe. So how much of a 600-measure score could be posted under the fair use rubric?

First of all, it would depend in which country this forum is hosted.

EU Law does not have a provision for “fair use/dealing” in the same way that US law does; though it does provide exceptions for “quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody and pastiche”.

You could certainly display images of some pages, and audio renderings of the entire work; but making available a project file for distribution – even of an incomplete work – would not, in itself, qualify for an exception.

I’m sure the forum mods will have their own rules/guidelines about what they are prepared to host.

“I am not a lawyer. More importantly, I’m not your lawyer.”

1 Like

I wasn’t aware of that ‘fair use’ variance, perhaps because the contexts I’ve encountered the issue in the past have been literary and thus covered by the language you cite. Actually I think a complete audio rendering might be more problematic than the score.

Not directly applicable, but even when a score is no longer subject to copyright, individual performances (recordings) may well be subject to copyright unless specifically put into public domain.

1 Like