May historical sheet music be copied?


Musical scores which are no longer protected by copyright because the author has been dead for more than 70 years are considered to be in the public domain and may be used freely. However according to the information sheet of the collecting society SUISA, this cannot be permitted due to competition law. The decisive factor is the question whether the score to be copied is a market-ready product which is adopted as such without reasonable personal effort using a technical reproduction process. The products must therefore be able to be commercially exploited without further ado (c.f. BGE 131 III 384. p. 389).