pogmoor wrote: ↑
Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:54 pm
I think this means that if an arranger comes across your version and sees that a substantial proportion of the arrangement is exactly the same as his (or hers) then (s)he would regard it as an infringement of copyright.
On some level it could depend on how picky the publisher would be, and if they wanted to drag you to court over it. However, if it's a big publisher with legal teams, they're going to send you a cease and desist notice and tell you to take it down and not make any more copies available.
I was engraving music for a piano music publisher once and he got in a little hot water because his edition looked too much like another edition.
Since the piece was out of copyright, it had nothing to do with the notes themselves or anything like that (these weren't arrangements). But what a publisher does for an "edition" that is *added to* (or changed from) the original is something that can be copyrighted.
So it turned out to be the fingering. This publisher added fingering to their edition. It was purely logical - exactly what any trained pianist would do - and put in in a "traditional" style where you only indicate fingering where it's really needed, not in the places it's real obvious.
Well naturally, the guy I was working with did the same thing - just because that's what you do - he had never seen the other edition.
But, becuase it was so similar, they didn't like it and threatened him (IIRC, it had already been published in the first run of books and then they "required" him to change it for the next run which is why he hired me to make the alterations).
I can't remember what he did - he either re-fingered the piece with different suggestions, or we just put in fingering on every single note, which made it look significantly different from the other edition.
You could easily get in trouble with something like this for dynamics, pedalling, and even page layout (like the addition of first and 2nd endings where there were none in the original, but someone else did it).
In the case of arrangements, the same applies - if you've chosen a similar chord progression, similar inversions, similar accompaniment patterns, and so on, the more similar it is to any copyrighted arrangement, the bigger the danger of your infringing.