Just to enrich this discussion about copyrights and who owns what.
My attorney tells me that if you alter or otherwise change a musical
composition, you now have the rights to it and can copyright the new
version if you wanted to do so, even if it is based on some other work.
It is now a new composition.
Since my interest is in player organ rolls and the symphonic music on
them, he tells me that if someone claims the rights to, let us say,
Beethoven's 5th Symphony, let them prove that they legally own the
copyright to that specific composition.
Think about the number of Yamaha Disklavier pianos playing in
restaurants. Has the owner paid into ASCAP every time he puts on a
Chopin disk? I don't think so, and I don't think Yamaha has done so
either on his behalf. Have the people that compile the piano/organ
fake books paid into ASCAP for every piece in the binder? Probably
Personally, I don't think any of us have anything to worry about as
long as the music is not played for gain in a public venue.
We are reproducing these rolls primarily for collectors and for
personal appreciation of the performers and the music they played.
Compared to the pirating of CDs and videos of contemporary music(?)
we are not even on the radar screen.