Legal contexts

The legislation governing publication practices and copyright protection during Chopin’s lifetime and after his death varied considerably between the principal European nations. This affected not only the nature and quantity of the contractual agreements into which the composer entered with his publishers, but also the history of commercial sales after the music’s initial release. For example, perusal of the Annotated Catalogue reveals striking differences in the number of Chopin first editions published in the German states as against those released in France or England – differences which can be explained with reference to the respective legal frameworks in force at the time.