Issue about copyright of MuseScore uploading

Dec 9, 2018

I'm wondering if one can upload ANY score they want on MuseScore. (because on I've seen tons of scores of pop songs which are of course copyright-perserved)
I have a score that's adapted from a copyright-perserved score which was bought from online shops whom we promised that the score would not be of any commercial usage. After my embellishment the score was used in our choir contest, which is the reason why it's so memorable to us. I really want to upload it on MuseScore so that everyone can see and enjoy the score again, so I'm here to ask whether I can do that. I would very much like to hear from developers or any expert that knows well in this field about copyright. Thousands of thanks to you. 


I am not a lawyer, but my understanding of copyright is that it means, "No, you can't copy and publish it yourself, period". If you could, copyright would be meaningless.
I understood that if you are not profiting from your arrangement and it is not recorded or performed for profit then you are ok. It is in fact a bit of a grey area.
@Kaytie Harding But then people can straightly download this score from this site instead of buying it from the original one. Does this harm the original adapters (they adapted a song and I re-adapted their adaption) by the means of law?
@Kaytie Harding making profit or not has got nothing to do with copyright, whist is about intellectual property. No grey area about this, a car theft remains a car theft, even if the thieve only places the stolen car in a publicly accessible showroom.
@Jojo-Schmitz You mean that even if someone come to download the score on this site for free and not buying on the original one, it's still good and not a matter concerning law?
@Howard_C. No, the exact opposite... stealing stolen goods is still theft.
@Howard_C. it’s just like taking money that’s not yours, illegal. Plus, musescore can get shut down because of it, just like the ROBLOX Pokémon Go got shut down some time ago
@Howard_C. If it happens, well, that's too bad for us. I wish we can stop worrying about this
I mean, you can upload whatever you want, but it will get copyrighted, later if not sooner, by the original owner of the song.
@BarbossaThePianist Do you mean that if I don't take credit myself then it's OK?
@Howard_C. No, it is not. Taking credit or not has got nothing to with copyright. It just makes the theft more serious, adds insult to injury
@Jojo-Schmitz I'm afraid I don't fully understand what's the difference :( In my opinion if @BarbossaThePianist said it would get copyrighted, it means if I don't say that I hold the copyright of the original adaption, then it's fine, because when the original adapters come by they can declare that this is their work (in fact I will certainly declare in advance that the score was originally adapted by them)
@Howard_C. you still violate copyright. Publishing someone elses work without permission is a copyright violation, period. Not crediting the original copyright holder is just bad behavoir, not a legal issue.
@Jojo-Schmitz Then why can many musicians on MuseScore publish arrangements or adaptions of pop/modern classical pieces?
@Howard_C. Simple: they can not! Not in general. But here on the situation is different, see @DmitriyPopov 's reply
@Jojo-Schmitz OK. I've read it and I believe we shall wait for Mr. Popov's reply on your doubts because things still aren't totally clear....
No. I transcribed a song without crediting myself, and it got copyrighted only because I did not have the proper permissions to upload it.
In general you always need the copyright holder's official agreement.
On this we'd need official answers from the staff, as far as I know Ultimate Guitar, the owner of MuseScore, has agreements in place with some/many/most/all (?) publishers that covers all this. @DmitriyPopov ?
At this moment there are no any restrictions on the to content uploading.
We have agreements with rights holders, but it doesn't mean that any score can be published on the Sometimes if we have a request from the publisher we can hide your score, but we will not block your account.
And there was a true above: You will not be a rights holder of your score if this is an arrangement of the copyrighted song.
@DmitriyPopov thanks, that makes it clearer.
Does this covers any score, like pure transcription and re-arrangement?
Can I publish virtully anything and will never personally be hold liable for it, and worst that can ever happen is that this score gets hidden?
Which I asume to mean make private, so that only I can see it, right? What about the groups it got shared with? Does it matter if those are public groups or modedarated 'invite-only' ones?
And another question: what about publishing scores on, as attachments to forum topics (in general and esp. in "Made with MuseScore", and in issues (bug reports)?
@Jojo-Schmitz That basically covers all I want to ask. Thanks!
@Jojo-Schmitz We work with every complains, individual. And it depends on the requirements of the copyright holder.
@DmitriyPopov So under the case that I don't know what the copyright holder requires, can I do whatever I want?
@DmitriyPopov doesn't really answer any of my questions...
@DmitriyPopov Thanks for your explanation... However I wonder if you mean *any rights holder* by "We have agreements with rights holders". The score was bought from Taobao, an online-shopping website that's only widely-used in China, I'm afraid. Do you also have agreements with the copyright holders on that site?
@Howard_C. does Taobao hold the copyright? I doubt it. But they may (and hopefully do) have the copyright holder's agreement. If not, it's their problem...
@Jojo-Schmitz The website has detailed explanations of the adapation... I'm not 100% sure whether Taobao holds the copyright...
@Howard_C. Sorry, for me it's not very simple to answer about rights holders because of it's a big job in the big department which I haven't control and I'm not a qualified lawyer. I afraid to say something that can be interpreted wrong.
Of course, we can't have agreements with every rights holder. But we have (or working on) agreements with all the biggest.
We have no opportunity to publish a full list of songs which we have rights to be published or not. It means that you can publish every score, but you should be ready that we'll hide your score in any moment.
But as a result of our agreements with rights holders, in this year the amount of scores which has been removed or hidden by the copyright claim decreased by several times.
@DmitriyPopov understood that you're not a lawyer, but maybe you can get someone from UG's legal department to comment here?
@DmitriyPopov So the copyright holders don't want me to upload the score, tell you and you hide my score... Is that always THIS simple? I mean, do they have the chance to prosecute me even further if I (and probably you) don't handle this well? Moreover, what if they skip you and directly call for prosecution of me?
@DmitriyPopov why UG can't tell us exactly which scores are fully protected, (or, alternatively: letting us to know a list of other ones which can be rightfully adapted, by virtue of these UG agreements I mean, so that users can choose)? other sites for example SMP Press do so, so there are no doubts and no murky/grey areas.
@DmitriyPopov Mmhh, ok. Thanks for the feedback, anyway.
If I understand @DmitriyPopov this is a kind of offshore pirate island where there is no law and no policemen. I find this hard to believe and would like to hear from a lawyer. But if it is so, why can't I associate any MP3 I want with a score without YouTube, but am limited to those written by MuseScore? Is post-Soviet Russia a signatory to international copyright treaties?
@BSG This sounds to me similar to one of those bootleg movie watching sites where you can watch movies for free if you know what i mean.
"Gambling!? Is there gambling going on here!? I'm shocked!" (-Claude Raines, in "Casablanca"). I'd like to know the facts.
@BSG no no gambling. Have you heard of 123 or other places like that. They post movies on the a website and let you stream them without paying for it. It is illegal at best.
It reminds me of musescore because the way is similar.
You take one copy of a paid sheet of music, transcribe it on musescore for everyone to download for free.
The internet is to intellectual property what the automobile was to horsemanship (horsepersonship?). Too big to settle here.
@mnmwert No, not knowledgeable. Please cite doc or explain.
@BSG It's not correct. We have agreements, and we pay royalties to publishers for every score which is an arrangement of the licensed song. But publishers have the opportunity to block scores.
@DmitriyPopov Thanks for clearing this up.
And finally, answer to a major question from our Business dev team. This answer is more professional and answers all questions:
MuseScore respects the rights of songwriters and music publishers. We believe that the creators of the songs we learn and love to play should be fairly compensated for the use of their copyrights on MuseScore.
MuseScore has signed licensing deals with many music publishing companies, including Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony Music, EMI Music, Faber Music, peermusic and others that gives MuseScore and its users the right to create, upload and share their arrangements of these publishers’ songs. We currently have hundreds of thousands of songs licensed and continue to license more every week.
While we currently don’t have restrictions on what users can create and upload to their personal accounts for their personal use, there may be some restrictions on publicly sharing certain songs and arrangements on MuseScore. Music publishing rights are complex, resulting in frequent and changing exceptions to what songwriters and publishers allow and don’t allow.
@DmitriyPopov I want to know if the worse result is my score get hidden. Will I possibly be prosecuted? (please don't answer it ambiguously because I need a clear answer :( )

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