Re: copyright and translation

Subject: Re: copyright and translation
From: Dennis Bathory-Kitsz (
Date: Fri Jan 29 1999 - 22:15:24 EST

At 21 09 01 29 1999 -0400, you wrote:
>There is an item here which I would like to get opinion on (informed,
>un-informed and regional). It relates to where 'copyright' of piece ends.

>For example, if I have prepared four versions of scores for Henry, Voile
>d'Orphee, which, if any, are in violation of copyright?

Part of it is right in the definition. If you ID it as 'four version of
scores for...", then you're inviting the association.

>(1) Pictures responding to the images that the sounds project on my inner

Fuzzy. Reproduction, translation, transcription, excerpting, sampling,
etc., certainly are copyright areas, though, so it depends probably as much
on the manner of presentation as it does on the 'accuracy' of the score as
imagined through your eyes.

>(2) A freely graphic timeline (squiggles, loops, dashes, lines).

Probaby not, unless it was intended to be a 'translation' into score.
Squishy, especially, again, if you've ID'd it as a 'score' for the piece.
Even a shoddy translation is a translation, even a shoddy performance is a

>(3) An event timeline

Getting really warm here. Closer to translation, but if it is merely an
outline of events, probably not. If it is a detailed event 'scoring', then
checking with legal opinion (or just getting permission) would be my route.
A transcription is a translation, and copyrightable.

>(4) A sonogram / spectrogram

Yes, if it is continuous through time. Reproduction, transcription,
translation, sampling -- all seem involved, especially reproduction.

>Would the spectrogram be considered a 'reproduction' of the piece, and
>therefore in violation of copyright, even if the original could not be
>'reverse engineered' from it?

The operant aspect isn't reverse-engineering, any more than one could
reverse-engineer Tolstoy's original from a translation. But a translation
is covered specifically in copyright. Check the references at the head of
the page.

But then, you're getting at something here, aren't you? What might that be


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