I'm a music publisher of classical music.
As such, while I've been working only with living composers (talking with them is the easiest way to find out what's going on with rights), recently I've been looking to start publishing works of dead composers.
And here things are fairly complicated.
Being a small music publisher means that I can't afford any serious legal fees and thus hiring a lawyer to search for me is... impossible. As such I'm turning to you in case you can help.
1. Copyrights vary from country to country. I'm situated in Greece. A well known example: 'Rite of Spring' by Stravinsky is in public domain in US grounds because it was published before 1923 (and) or failed to renew the copyright notice, as required by the law back then it IS in public domain. ONLY in the USA!
But today we live in a global world (through the Internet). So if I was to somehow create a company (a sister company?) in the USA, would that allow me to publish such works? Isn't this somewhat silly? :S
2. But my main question is this: How can I research who holds the copyrights of certain composers (Kavalevsky and Prokofiev). Kabalevsky died in 1987 but has been working for a few years prior to 1923 (a landmark date for US in copyrights), and Prokofiev died in 1953. (yes Prokofievs rights last a total of 74 years after his death given that he was alive and working in WW2...
Any ideas on how to trace the copyright holders?