Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 51

Thread: What's in public domain these days?

  1. #1
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Augusta, Maine, USA
    Posts
    1,428

    Default What's in public domain these days?

    There's a pub I want to gig at that's only licensed for public domain and originals.

    My duo partner heard that a lot of old copyrighted tunes have recently aged into public domain. We have plenty of originals and folk songs, but we'd like to do some covers, too.

    So who are some artists whose songs are available for all? The Carters? Robert Johnson? Others?

    Thanks!
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  2. #2

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Songs published in 1926 or earlier.
    Sound recordings in 1923 or earlier.

    https://www.pdinfo.com/public-domain-music-list.php

    **Edit That's USA public domain. Can be different for different countries.
    Girouard Concert A5
    Trillium Mandola
    Dunwell B-1 Bouzouki
    Girouard Custom A4 (on order)
    www.singletonstreet.com

  3. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Chuck Leyda For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Hoosierlandia
    Posts
    504

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Leyda View Post
    Songs published in 1926 or earlier.
    Sound recordings in 1923 or earlier.

    https://www.pdinfo.com/public-domain-music-list.php
    Which leaves out the Carter Family and Robert Johnson, unfortunately. Lots of old ragtime and jazz tunes would be over the copyright horizon, though.

    D.H.

  5. The following members say thank you to Dave Hicks for this post:


  6. #4
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Augusta, Maine, USA
    Posts
    1,428

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Good to know! Do any recent age-outs come to mind?
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  7. #5
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    24,164
    Blog Entries
    55

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Who is the pub licensed with BMI? ASCAP? someone else? Find out, go to the website and see if they own the tunes you want to play.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
    funny....

  8. The following members say thank you to JeffD for this post:


  9. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    224

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    “Horsey keep your tail up” is on the list. Gotta learn that one
    Girouard A
    Silverangel A
    Eastman 615

  10. The following members say thank you to A-board for this post:


  11. #7
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    3,369

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Who is the pub licensed with BMI? ASCAP? someone else? Find out, go to the website and see if they own the tunes you want to play.
    This "originals or public domain only" is a hallmark of venues who do NOT pay licensing fees to any of the publishers rights organizations (PROs) such as ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. If they DID pay licensing fees performers would be able to play anything from the applicable catalog.

  12. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Mandobart For This Useful Post:


  13. #8
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    24,164
    Blog Entries
    55

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    This "originals or public domain only" is a hallmark of venues who do NOT pay licensing fees to any of the publishers rights organizations (PROs) such as ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. If they DID pay licensing fees performers would be able to play anything from the applicable catalog.
    Right, I mispoke. Its the other way. If the venues do not play any fees to the PROs, in the strictest sense you would check with the major PROs websites to be sure the tune of interest is public domain.

    I did something similar with a CD project I was involved with.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
    funny....

  14. The following members say thank you to JeffD for this post:


  15. #9

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    I wouldn't contact the PRO. They are pretty aggressive about shutting down places that are original/public domain. They've sent folks to request non public domain songs at said venues. They tried to take a grocery store to court because a lady who was employed there was singing songs as she stocked the shelves. They sued a horse barn that had classical music playing in the barn for their employees. Pretty hardcore stuff. For a lot of the smaller pub/coffee houses the amount of money they ask for is prohibitive. Most of them just stop hosting live music.

    They backed off this one but only after they got a ton of bad press.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/s...al/8317952.stm
    Girouard Concert A5
    Trillium Mandola
    Dunwell B-1 Bouzouki
    Girouard Custom A4 (on order)
    www.singletonstreet.com

  16. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Chuck Leyda For This Useful Post:


  17. #10

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    And further than that they will often try to make claims on public domain songs saying that your arrangement is based on a recording by an artist in their catalog. So if you introduce a song by saying "I learned this from a Rciky Skaggs recording" or they simply think it is similar, then it is subject to their copyright claims even if it is an ancient traditional song in public domain. They have full time lawyers on staff and a small venue cannot afford to fight them even when the venue is in the right.

  18. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to CarlM For This Useful Post:


  19. #11

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Yeah it does get tricky with folk music.

    Most people don't get the fellers together and bust out an original arrangement of Mozart's Requiem. They use a standard arrangement and it's fair to pay for it. But when it's a 3 chord traditional folk song what is the arrangement??

    Most medium and large venues just pay the fees and that's fine. I just feel bad when smaller venues want to host music but just can't afford to.
    Girouard Concert A5
    Trillium Mandola
    Dunwell B-1 Bouzouki
    Girouard Custom A4 (on order)
    www.singletonstreet.com

  20. The following members say thank you to Chuck Leyda for this post:


  21. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    6,637

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Remember if you are playing original music, but you made recording of it and copyrighted it, you are still under the copyright law of not being able to play your own music without the venue paying.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  22. The following members say thank you to pops1 for this post:


  23. #13
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    Posts
    2,206

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    ............... you are still under the copyright law of not being able to play your own music without the venue paying.
    I'll need a little explanation for that.

    Who would the venue pay? You haven't contracted to a license agency, presumably. Are you suing the venue for not paying royalties to you? if they paid you a fee, could that be covered in the fee? if you played for free. could you have 'donated' the fees to the venue?
    Not all the clams are at the beach

    Arrow Jazzbo
    Arrow G
    Clark 2 point
    Gibson F5L
    Ratliff CountryBoy A
    00-21 (voiced by Eldon Stutzman)

  24. The following members say thank you to Bill McCall for this post:


  25. #14

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Remember if you are playing original music, but you made recording of it and copyrighted it, you are still under the copyright law of not being able to play your own music without the venue paying.
    First, IANAL, but, you are not distinguishing between "copyright" and "copyright registration," the latter is the only thing that really matters. And you can even register the copyright of a work without submitting a sound recording. How you obtained a registered copyright is irrelevant to whether your own performance puts a place at risk. What matters is if you have *retained* the copyright by not distributing via some channel that takes a slice of the rights (this is important to understand), and have not, yourself, registered with a PRO (ASCAP, et al.) and put the song in their database/catalog (either as the writer or publisher). If you are the sole owner of the (registered) copyright, you can grant yourself the right to perform it for free anywhere you choose.

    The business of "public domain," however does incur the pitfalls of registered copyrights of performances (SRs) that are so similar to yours that a claim can be made, and nobody has the lawyers like the publishing houses and PROs. I've had claims made against classical stuff because it was similar enough to a published arrangement someone had copyrighted, no matter it was originally written 300 years ago (plus or minus), and it was performed from reading the "urtext" (original published composition). I don't think you'll have that problem in your average pub, though.
    2009 Eastman MD815/V
    2019 Northfield NF-F5S
    some home music videos

  26. The following members say thank you to keith.rogers for this post:


  27. #15
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Augusta, Maine, USA
    Posts
    1,428

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Who is the pub licensed with BMI? ASCAP? someone else? Find out, go to the website and see if they own the tunes you want to play.
    They're only licensed for booze, not music. So, with a few exceptions, we can't play copyrighted music.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  28. #16
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Augusta, Maine, USA
    Posts
    1,428

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    This "originals or public domain only" is a hallmark of venues who do NOT pay licensing fees to any of the publishers rights organizations (PROs) such as ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. If they DID pay licensing fees performers would be able to play anything from the applicable catalog.
    Right. That's my point. They don't pay music licensing fees. They're licensed for booze, not music.

    As I said, they're not licensed for music. So we can't play anything copyrighted, with a few exceptions.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  29. #17
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Augusta, Maine, USA
    Posts
    1,428

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Leyda View Post
    I wouldn't contact the PRO. They are pretty aggressive about shutting down places that are original/public domain. They've sent folks to request non public domain songs at said venues. They tried to take a grocery store to court because a lady who was employed there was singing songs as she stocked the shelves. They sued a horse barn that had classical music playing in the barn for their employees. Pretty hardcore stuff. For a lot of the smaller pub/coffee houses the amount of money they ask for is prohibitive. Most of them just stop hosting live music.

    They backed off this one but only after they got a ton of bad press.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/s...al/8317952.stm
    I know. They shut down a laundromat here because the owner liked to sing.

    But I see no problem with looking at their websites. It sounds like a good idea.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  30. #18
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Augusta, Maine, USA
    Posts
    1,428

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlM View Post
    And further than that they will often try to make claims on public domain songs saying that your arrangement is based on a recording by an artist in their catalog. So if you introduce a song by saying "I learned this from a Rciky Skaggs recording" or they simply think it is similar, then it is subject to their copyright claims even if it is an ancient traditional song in public domain. They have full time lawyers on staff and a small venue cannot afford to fight them even when the venue is in the right.
    Our arrangements aren't based on anyone else's.

    But we won't be playing any copyrighted songs, anyway, so it doesn't matter. The venue won't have to fight anyone about anything.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  31. #19
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Augusta, Maine, USA
    Posts
    1,428

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Leyda View Post
    Yeah it does get tricky with folk music.

    Most people don't get the fellers together and bust out an original arrangement of Mozart's Requiem. They use a standard arrangement and it's fair to pay for it. But when it's a 3 chord traditional folk song what is the arrangement??

    Most medium and large venues just pay the fees and that's fine. I just feel bad when smaller venues want to host music but just can't afford to.
    This pub has no trouble finding artists or customers. On nights when there's live music, it's mobbed.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  32. #20

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    This pub has no trouble finding artists or customers. On nights when there's live music, it's mobbed.
    That's awesome! Keep it on the down low or someone special will show up and request "Into the Mystic".
    Girouard Concert A5
    Trillium Mandola
    Dunwell B-1 Bouzouki
    Girouard Custom A4 (on order)
    www.singletonstreet.com

  33. The following members say thank you to Chuck Leyda for this post:


  34. #21

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Charlie, you should check on some of the W.C. Handy tunes. If I remember correctly, both "St. Louis Blues" and "Beale Street Blues" are off copyright, for example.

  35. The following members say thank you to James Vwaal for this post:


  36. #22
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    6,637

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    I'll need a little explanation for that.

    Who would the venue pay? You haven't contracted to a license agency, presumably. Are you suing the venue for not paying royalties to you? if they paid you a fee, could that be covered in the fee? if you played for free. could you have 'donated' the fees to the venue?
    If you copyrighted your song with ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC, they are copyrighted and it makes no difference who plays them, including the songwriter. The venue would be under obligation to pay the fees.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  37. #23
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Augusta, Maine, USA
    Posts
    1,428

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    If you copyrighted your song with ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC, they are copyrighted and it makes no difference who plays them, including the songwriter. The venue would be under obligation to pay the fees.
    That's interesting. I thought you copyright them with the government, then, if you want to, register them with a company.

    Sounds like you can skip the government and go straight to the company to get it done.

    Thanks!
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  38. #24
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    Posts
    2,206

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    If you copyrighted your song with ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC, they are copyrighted and it makes no difference who plays them, including the songwriter. The venue would be under obligation to pay the fees.
    That’s not correct. The copyright is with the government, you’ll notice I stated ‘not contracted to a license agency’, so they have no right or claim on any aspect of your copyright.

    Play on.
    Not all the clams are at the beach

    Arrow Jazzbo
    Arrow G
    Clark 2 point
    Gibson F5L
    Ratliff CountryBoy A
    00-21 (voiced by Eldon Stutzman)

  39. The following members say thank you to Bill McCall for this post:


  40. #25
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Augusta, Maine, USA
    Posts
    1,428

    Default Re: What's in public domain these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    That’s not correct. The copyright is with the government, you’ll notice I stated ‘not contracted to a license agency’, so they have no right or claim on any aspect of your copyright.

    Play on.
    Yup, the little copyrighting I've done, I've done through the government.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •