The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #33564   Message #562381
Posted By: Joe Offer
01-Oct-01 - 04:37 AM
Thread Name: Copyrights on 'older' songs...?
Subject: RE: Copyrights on 'older' songs...?
Hey, Pavane - I couldn't find "Two Sailor Lads" at Levy - can you halp me find it.

Jande, our Benevolent U.S. Congress passed a law in 1998 which extended copyrights up to 120 years - but works published in 1923 and earlier remained in the public domain (the law is a lot more complicated than that, but that's a general guideline). the Levy Sheet Music Collection has lots of online sheet music for music published through 1923, but not for anything after that. Darn.

Sinner Man is in Cecil Sharp's English Folk Songs of the Southern Appalachians - published in 1917, which means it's more-or-less in Publis Domain.

Alan Price may have written a version of "House of the Rising Sun," (copyright 1964) but Sing Out! has a version copyrighted by John & Alan Lomax in 1941. I can't find anything earlier, but there's a good chance the song is far older than the Lomax copyright.

"Summertime" (words by DuBose Heyward and music by George Gershwin), was part of "Porgy and Bess," Copyright 1935. The copyright is quite solid for "Summertime," but the other two songs can most probably be considered "traditional."

Do people actually still pay the Lomax family for all the songs John and Alan collected from traditional singers? I dunno. Do they?

-Joe Offer (e-mail sent to Jande, but account is shown as closed)-