Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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802.6 (I) Editorial Authorship


802.6 (I) Editorial Authorship


Musical editing generally consists of adding markings for the performance of a musical composition, such as additional or altered fingering, accents, dynamics, and the like.


Editing also may consist of textual notes on performance practice or historical background for a musical composition. To assert a claim to copyright in this type of authorship, the applicant may use the term “musical editing” in the Other field of the online application or space 2 of the paper application.


A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which as a whole represent an original work of authorship, is a derivative work. These types of works may be registered only if the underlying authorship has been used lawfully. When asserting a claim to copyright in these types of works, the applicant may use the term “musical editing” or may provide a more specific description of the new material that the author contributed to the work.


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