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Re: Licensing question: content deemed to have entered the public domain?

"David H. Gutteridge" <> writes:

> I've packaged music21, which is a Python project for computer-aided
> musicological analysis. It's defined as BSD or GPL (so far, so good).
> Its full distribution also contains a good deal of notated music,
> which they've deemed to be in the public domain. When a work enters the
> "public domain" is defined differently depending on the jurisdiction.
> Does TNF/pkgsrc have a set definition of the applicability of when a
> copyright term has elapsed? (E.g., perhaps we'd use the US definition,
> since TNF is a US foundation? music21 is an MIT project, so it would
> use the US definition. Though, TNF has international mirrors.)
> While this might seem a bit esoteric for a project normally concerned
> with software code, part of why I ask is because oftentimes copies of
> distribution archives get uploaded to TNF servers. Were this to happen
> here, TNF could hypothetically be redistributing sheet music that may
> be in the public domain in, say, the US (copyright expiry 70 years
> after author's death), but not in, say, Mexico (expiry 100 years after
> author's death), and some music publishers and composers' heirs have
> been litigious with sites like IMSLP.
> If it's a concern, the music21 project also offers a "corpus-free"
> distribution that removes all these scores. But I'd prefer to keep them
> in. (From what I've determined, all the presently included works are in
> the public domain in any jurisdiction. But the selection may change, of
> course.)
> To re-frame this question, this is about handling licensing for what's
> effectively "data" rather than code. Where projects diverge in terms of
> this -- code under one set of terms, specific "sample" data under
> another -- what is the general pkgsrc practice for handling this? Or is
> that normally a concern at all?

This is the best copyright question in years!

My two thoughts are:

  TNF is a US entity, so using the US terms seems at first glance like a
  reasonable approach (IANAL, TINLA)

  I wonder what the origin is of this music.  For a work created in
  Mexico (perhaps by a Mexican national, but probably that doesn't
  matter), it would seem there is some merit in using the Mexican
  definition (without loss of generality).

And a genuine question:

  Assume a work first fixed in a tangible medium in the US, long ago,
  such that the author died 80 years ago.  Is there a notion that this
  copyright can be enforced against those copying that work in Mexico
  today, by the US (former) copyright holder?  Or is it only possible to
  enforce in Mexcio for works created (fixed in a tangible medium :) in
  Mexico in the first place (w.l.o.g.)?

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