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How to determine if a song is public domain

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leemce
How to determine if a song is public domain
on Jan 13, 2007 at 2:36:50 am

Hi folks,
This is not my usual forum but I figured there would be some experts here who can help me. My client wants to use certain songs in a video I am producing and I want to be careful not to break any laws. So I need to find out which songs are in the public domain. How would you go about determining that? Is there a database? When does public domain kick in? 50 years? Thanks for any guidance on this.

Cheers,

Lee


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Thax
Re: How to determine if a song is public domain
by
on Jan 13, 2007 at 3:33:55 am

Even if the SONG was PD, the PERFORMANCE (recording) would most likely be copyrighted.

Unless you're using Edison wax cylinders or 78 rpm pressings, its likely you'd be breaking someone's ownership of the performance and/or song.

If you want to stay SAFE, use a "music clearing service" to check these things.

http://www.google.com/search?q=music+clearing+service

I think you'll find, however, that unless you have a very large budget, you will only be able to use specific CD of "production music" in most cases.


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leemce
Re: How to determine if a song is public domain
on Jan 13, 2007 at 3:53:39 am

Thanks, Thax for your thoughts. (Unintended alliteration.)
We're not facing a problem of a copyrighted performance in this case, as the song would be covered. But the fundamental underlying issue of rights to the song, itself, is an issue for me. Thanks for the referral.

Lee


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Will Salley
Re: How to determine if a song is public domain
on Jan 14, 2007 at 11:05:16 pm

It's also easier than you might think to get the performance and/or needle drop permissions for many compositions. It all depends on your usage and the market, as well as the publishing date.

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Steve Wargo
www.bzrights.com
on Jan 24, 2007 at 6:44:55 am

BZ Rights in New York is the consumate organization for getting the rights you need. A client of mine had just finished a project and I had stressed to him that he needed to get his music cleared. He explained that an entertainment attorney had advised him that everything was OK to use. After contacing BZ Rights, he found out that he needed rights for the Karoake recording of the music he used. It cost him a mere $350 and he is completely legal. Don't listen to anyone who tries to gives you advice to the contrary. They won't be the ones on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

Maybe Barbara Zimmrman (BZ) could join us for a comment here. I'll ask her.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona

It's a dry heat!


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Steve Wargo
Re: www.bzrights.com
on Jan 24, 2007 at 6:53:43 am

That address is http://www.bzrights.com in case someone missed it in the subject line. They have a ton of information on Public Domain that is free. Please check them out. And, I apologize for the misspell on Ms. Zimmerman's name. It's late.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona

It's a dry heat!


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Bill @ UGA
Alternate idea
on Jan 18, 2007 at 8:59:03 pm

For most of our work, we use companies who sell you the rights to use their music, usually a catalog of discs in many genres of music. But for one program we did, I found some very old music and had some local musicians play their own arrangement of that sheet music; we recorded it here and it worked very well for that particular project. Benefits of living in a college town!

Bill


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