Perhaps I am seeking greater clarification than i really need to know. But this thread really has some interesting dynamics to it.
When a song is newly written with fresh lyrics to an existing melody such as Ewan Macolls "Champion At Keepin' Them Rollin'" and "The Limerick Rake", Sean South From Garry Owen" and "Roddy Mc Corly" , " Ewan Macolls "Come My Little Son" and "Paddy West". How are these copyrights assigned? I don't believe anyone here in will doubt the great integrity and forthrightness of Ewan Macoll but if I accept some of the standards set in this thread, then Macoll was a thief and didn't deserve some of his royalties. Now I know that nobody is saying that directly but isn't that pretty much what has been said? Also isn't this line of thought denying the time honored tradition of recycling melodies for new words?