I was just browsing the music section at the local public library and saw a book that contained some old music. One song from 1905 (forgot the title) was said to still be in copywrite as of this publishing (by Warner Music).
Then I saw "Green Sleeves". This song is attributed to Henry VIII, yet at the bottom of the page was (C)1972. So how can that be. It's not a copywrite of the book, it's the piece itself.
There was some discussion in another thread about Gershwin and 70 years after death his music (possibly) falling into the public domain. So what is the law on this kind of stuff, and is there a web site that you can check to see if a piece of music is protected by copywrite?
hehe--Look, dsampson55, now you have Tom "Prince of Music" doing it -"copywrite." It's a common error.
Just remember that the term is referring to the rights of creators. The right to copy what someone composes, writes, paints, photographs, designs, choreographs -etc--those rights are automatically in control of the creator. That person, or their legal representative, can give someone else the right to copy that piece of work, usually subject to the payment of a royalty.
The right to copy. That's the way to remember it.
As far as the copyright notice showing up on works in the public domain, like the "Green Sleeves" example - Publishers routinely copyright their editions. Pick up the Gilbert and Sullivan scores which are in the public domain -Schirmer and Dover, whoever else publishes their works - they have a copyright for their version, their publication.
"here was some discussion in another thread about Gershwin and 70 years after death his music (possibly) falling into the public domain."
Thanks to the Mickey Mouse Protection Act (AKA the Sonny Bono act), the term is now 95 years after death. And I'm positive that when a select few IPs come to the end of their terms again, the media conglomerates will lobby to extended it again.
Don't even get me started on the DMCA.
Copyright is very important, but when the conglomerates write the laws, everybody else loses.
Copyright applies to music when it is recorded, either by writing it down or in any other manner. With a song there will usually be more than one copyright associated with it. If you are the composer of the music you will be the author of the musical work and will have copyright in that music. The lyrics of a song are protected separately by copyright as a literary work. The person who writes the lyrics will own the copyright in the words.
If your work is subsequently recorded the sound recording will also have copyright protection. The producer of the recording will own the copyright in the sound recording.
Composers of music may also have moral rights in their work.
Copyright is like any form of physical property in that you can buy it, sell it, inherit or otherwise transfer it, wholly or in part. Therefore, some or all of the economic rights may subsequently belong to someone other than you, the first owner. Duration
Copyright exists in your original music composition or score for your life plus 70 years from the end of the year of your death. The same length of time applies for the lyrics, whereas the sound recording only lasts for 50 years from the end of the year in which it was made or, if published in this time, 50 years from the end of the year of publication. If not published during that 50 year period, but it is played in public or communicated to the public during that period, then copyright will last for 50 years from when this happens.