Matthew Guerrieri, who gets some secret crazy music-news feed that the rest of us don't, notes that a twenty-one-year-old, scotch-drinkin', Jay-Z-listenin' Rachmaninov heir named Alexander Temple Wolkonsky Rachmaninoff Wanamaker wants to reassert copyright control of his great-great-grandfather's works by publishing them in new arrangements. According to an Arizona Daily Star story, "Wanamaker said the family already has approached a few composers about doing the rearrangement." This is intriguing. What composers? I nominate the German avant-gardist Hans-Joachim Hespos, whose works have called for, among other instruments, an oil tank with a 5mm-thick casing and a welding torch [for more on this merry tunester, read Geelhoed]; Dean Drummond, curator of Harry Partch's array of microtonal instruments; and Milton Babbitt, who could create a very fresh-sounding Rach 3 with a quick serialization of dynamics.
But all this is moot, I'm afraid. Those who know my world-famous opera Tristan + Isolde will not be surprised to learn that I have also composed a corpus of works that bear a superficial resemblance to Rachmaninov's, although the differences are in fact profound — sufficiently profound that I am claiming retroactive royalties on all Rachmaninov performances to date as well as on all iterations of the Dies irae, together with Alexander Temple Wolkonsky Rachmaninoff Wanamaker's daily allowance since birth. Above is a page from my glorious Symphony No. 2 (click on the image to make it bigger).
For a serious critique of copyright law run amok, read Gann. Rachmaninov will survive, but the idea of all these great new contemporary-classical web-radio stations shutting down is too depressing for words.