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Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?

Jack Campin 17 Dec 08 - 07:17 PM
Nerd 17 Dec 08 - 07:36 PM
Nerd 17 Dec 08 - 07:40 PM
Jack Campin 17 Dec 08 - 07:48 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Dec 08 - 09:40 PM
Nerd 17 Dec 08 - 10:04 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Dec 08 - 11:06 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Dec 08 - 03:01 AM
Jack Campin 18 Dec 08 - 05:34 AM
Will Fly 18 Dec 08 - 06:17 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Dec 08 - 06:40 AM
GUEST,Graham Bradshaw 19 Dec 08 - 04:44 AM
Paul Burke 19 Dec 08 - 05:10 AM
Richard Bridge 19 Dec 08 - 06:52 AM
GUEST,Graham Bradshaw 19 Dec 08 - 08:41 AM
Jack Campin 24 Dec 08 - 06:29 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Dec 08 - 07:04 PM
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Subject: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 07:17 PM

From Richard Bridge on an earlier thread:

to be pedantic, the date of expiry of copyright is the 31st December after the 70th anniversary of the death of the author - no broken years.

(Let's not get picky about odd exceptions to this rule, it fits most of the world).

Okay, so who gets to be out of copyright on Hogmanay?

Looking at timelines on the web I can find King Oliver and Robert Johnson. In literature, Thomas Wolfe and Osip Mandelstam, neither of them exactly singable, and Cesar Vallejo, who might have been but I can't trace any settings.

1938 also saw the invention of nylon, the electronic digital computer, the Biro, the xerox machine, Fannie Mae, instant coffee, seeing eye dogs, colour TV, Superman, Scrabble, LSD, bluegrass and electric shock therapy.


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Subject: RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: Nerd
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 07:36 PM

Not really, Jack. Richard was only expressing part of the law. From the US Copyright website:

How Long Copyright Protection Endures

Works Originally Created on or after January 1, 1978

A work that was created (fixed in tangible form for the first time) on or after January 1, 1978, is automatically protected from the moment of its creation and is ordinarily given a term enduring for the author's life plus an additional 70 years after the author's death. In the case of "a joint work prepared by two or more authors who did not work for hire," the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving author's death. For works made for hire, and for anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the author's identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright will be 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.

Works Originally Created before January 1, 1978, But Not Published or Registered by That Date

These works have been automatically brought under the statute and are now given federal copyright protection. The duration of copyright in these works is generally computed in the same way as for works created on or after January 1, 1978: the life-plus-70 or 95/120-year terms apply to them as well. The law provides that in no case would the term of copyright for works in this category expire before December 31, 2002, and for works published on or before December 31, 2002, the term of copyright will not expire before December 31, 2047.

Works Originally Created and Published or Registered before January 1, 1978

Under the law in effect before 1978, copyright was secured either on the date a work was published with a copyright notice or on the date of registration if the work was registered in unpublished form. In either case, the copyright endured for a first term of 28 years from the date it was secured. During the last (28th) year of the first term, the copyright was eligible for renewal. The Copyright Act of 1976 extended the renewal term from 28 to 47 years for copyrights that were subsisting on January 1, 1978, or for pre-1978 copyrights restored under the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), making these works eligible for a total term of protection of 75 years. Public Law 105-298, enacted on October 27, 1998, further extended the renewal term of copyrights still subsisting on that date by an additional 20 years, providing for a renewal term of 67 years and a total term of protection of 95 years.

Public Law 102-307, enacted on June 26, 1992, amended the 1976 Copyright Act to provide for automatic renewal of the term of copyrights secured between January 1, 1964, and December 31, 1977. Although the renewal term is automatically provided, the Copyright Office does not issue a renewal certificate for these works unless a renewal application and fee are received and registered in the Copyright Office.

Public Law 102-307 makes renewal registration optional. Thus, filing for renewal registration is no longer required to extend the original 28-year copyright term to the full 95 years. However, some benefits accrue to renewal registrations that were made during the 28th year.


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Subject: RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: Nerd
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 07:40 PM

The consequence, of course, is that Robert Johnson's works would go out of copyright 95 years after they were first published, since they were first published before 1978. Since they were published in 1936 and 1937, they go out of copyright in 2031 and 2032.


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Subject: RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 07:48 PM

Ignored.

Outside the US, it's this Hogmanay.

Back to the point. Pedantic exceptions apart, who else goes PD in most of the world in a couple of weeks?


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Subject: RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 09:40 PM

With observation of international agreements on copyright conventions- the UK, along with U. S., Canada and other Commonwealth countries and I think most if not all members of the EU, is signatory to the Berne Convention, whose terms are carved in stone by the WTO's TRIPS agreements.
Article 7 provides a general minimum term of protection of the life of the author plus 50 years with variations for particular types of copyright work. For musical works, the period is life of the author plus 70 years (1995 amendment) as Jack Campin posted. As Nerd posted, in the US this is extended to 95 years.
I remember the Olympics in Salt Lake City; musicians at the games could not play "Waltzing Matilda" without payment although it was free of restriction in Australia and UK.

As most commentaries suggest, copyright regulations are a mine field; unless one is a soliciter schooled in the regulations, beware!

The regulations of the Berne Convention are incorporated into the World Trade Organization's TRIPS agreement (1995), thus giving the Berne Convention effectively near-global application - as a minimum.

Taking the simple-minded approach, if a UK composer kicked the bucket in 1938, I guess his music is pd there, but if he also obtained U. S. copyright (as many do through their publishers), then 2063 is the magic date in the U. S.
Dunno the regulations in the various EU countries.

Canada follows the Berne and Universal Copyright Conventions. With the U. S. on its border, there are possibilities for problems.

For certain, only the hog gets eaten on New Years day.


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Subject: RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: Nerd
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 10:04 PM

Jack, when you make a mistake, and someone points it out, it's rude to respond with:

"Ignored."   

For the record, I wasn't being pedantic... Robert Johnson was one of the people you mentioned, and his music, which is copyright in the US, will be under copyright longer than you thought. People shouldn't make the mistake of thinking it's PD, because Sony BMG Music owns this copyright, and you can bet they'll protect it.

By the way, Thomas Wolfe and King Oliver are also subject to this "pedantic exception," so three of your five examples won't in fact have their copyrights expire on Hogmanay.


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Subject: RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 11:06 PM

César Vallejo wrote poems over a lifetime, but most was published posthumously.
He was not a musician; perhaps some of his poems were set to music by others; if so, copyrights for the musical works are determined by when it was composed.

Osip Mandelstam also was a poet. His "Earthly Life" was set to music by Elena Firsova in 1986 and broadcast by the BBC. Other works were set, including one in 1994, again by Firsova.
She and her publisher, Boosey & Hawkes, as well as the BBC, could hold copyrights on the musical works. Only declaimers of his poetry are home free. Musicians please pay.

As I said before, perhaps only the hog in Hogmanay may be served up for dinner. 0 out of 5.


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Subject: RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:01 AM

I was responding to Tom Bliss, who was specifically talking about UK copyright.

I expect the publishers of Robert Johnson will suddenly discover a younger co-author - as they did with the Gershwin brothers.


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Subject: RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:34 AM

I have an edition in ABC of the collected tunes of G.S. MacLennan on my website. GS died in 1927. I was quite careful to select only the ones that were copyright-free at the time I wrote it - most come from GS's own publications, and I included only a stub reference to tunes from his MSS that were published after his death in a unique source (e.g. the Gordon Highlanders book), since with MSS the copyright usually belongs to the editor of the first published edition.

Presumably I should forbid access to US users by IP blocking?

Still wondering what other composers (who might be played on the UK folk scene) died in 1938.


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Subject: RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 06:17 AM

Is it true/untrue that recorded music is free of restrictions on being used in CDs from 50 years after its release? I seem to remember Cliff Richard making a fuss recently, saying it was unfair that anyone could re-issue his records after 50 years.


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Subject: RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 06:40 AM

THe US situation on pre-1956 works (the effective date is actually 1957 - when both the UK and the US became members of the Universal Copyright Convention) is unbelievably complicated (and I am getting rustier on it).

After that, first publication in another UCC country of a work by a non-US citizen with a correct copyright notice caused US copyright to arise, but there were complications about US registration too. From memory it was not until fairly recently that once could enforce a US copyright in the US until it was registered, and there are still issues about statutory damages and costs and "reliance parties".

Pre-56, as far as the work of a non-US citizen was concerned, (if I remember correctly) no registration - no copyright, and from an earlier date which I forget there was a first manufacturing requirement too.

The Pan-American conventions with South American countries complicate the lives of the estates of Latin-American composers too.



Reverting to the UK - it is the copyright in the sound recording, not the copyright in the song or music, that at present expires after 50 years. So one may copy the record - subject to MCPS clearance for the music and words, and broadcast the copy (or play it in public)- subject to PRS clearance for the music and words.

Performers' rights are a different issue, also at present limited to 50 years - but it is an odd 50 years - it is 50 years from the date of performance (and to end of year) but if a record is released in that time, then 50 years fromthe date of release of record (and to end of year).

THe Gowers review recommended that the copyright in sound recording be NOT extended, but Gordon Brown has now succumbed to lobbying by the record companies and will stop opposing EU moves to extend the copyright in sound recordings. Since the "maker" is usually a coroporation, I wonder what life they will choose to measure by.

This will in fact only substantially benefit large foreign owned corporations like Sony-BMG.


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Subject: RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: GUEST,Graham Bradshaw
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 04:44 AM

I must say that I have mixed feelings about all of this.

On the one hand, as a creator of music (both as a musician and as a record company), I can't see why when I have paid in money and creative effort to record some music, it should not remain in my ownership indefinitely. I fully sympathise with Sir Cliff and the surviving Beatles et al who are about to see all their copyrights evaporate. The consequence of this is that all those songs suddenly turn up on a plethora of compilations at stupidly cheap prices, the upshot being that nobody is going to buy the originals any longer. Massive loss of revenue.

On the other hand, as a compiler of historical recordings, it is great to be able to use tracks and not have to pay for licences. This makes projects that would not have been commercially viable, suddenly worth doing, and of course it brings to life some fabulous old music that would otherwise have been left to fester in a vault somewhere.

A typical dichotomy. But here's a radical thought...

Why can't ALL copyrights exist in perpituity for the creator and then their beneficiaries, and only pass into the 'public domain' when there are no remaining beneficiaries? It would be quite easy to devise a system of a statutory rate for licences in the case of very old recordings (ie after the original creator has died), which could be set at quite a low rate so as not to be prohibitive to archive compilers. It should be possible to sort out a system that keeps everybody happy.

In effect, the existing system is a bit like leasehold as against freehold. You buy a house, but you are only allowed to own it for x number of years, and then you have to give it back, and the thing you paid for is not yours anymore. I think this is morally wrong, and all property (including intellectual property) should be definitely FREEHOLD.

Rant over.


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Subject: RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 05:10 AM

Patents, however valuable, expire after 25 years. They may require much greater and rarer expertise and intellectual and physical effort than any work of art. the reason is that commercial development would be stifled by longer protection. The time taken to recoup investment, even for a very successful patent, is often a substantial part of the protection period.

I believe copyright should be exactly the same.


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Subject: RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:52 AM

Graham, you have not absorbed what is being said. Copyright in literary and musical works (generally) lasts for life +70 (and to 31 Dec).

Performers' rights last for the odd 50-ish period I describe above. Should teh performer be treated equally to the composer? IMHO no.

Copyright in sound recordings lasts for 50 years. Should a company that funds a recording (or maybe an individual producer-knob-twiddler) be treated equally to the performer or composer? IMHO no, albeit some may argue about the great producers like Spector, Meek, Shel Talmy, damn, the names of some of the famous English ones have just sklipped my mind...

Physical ownership of a recording lasts for ever - as does the physical owenrship of each copy you make, and when you sell it it belongs to someone else.


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Subject: RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: GUEST,Graham Bradshaw
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 08:41 AM

Richard, you have misunderstood what I was saying. I certainly DO understand and have absorbed what was being said. I am fully aware of what the various copyrights are, and their terms as currently enshrined in law.

The point I was making was one of principle and ownership. In reality, none of this is really an issue once the owner of the copyright dies (other than for their beneficiaries).

It seems to me that ownership is ownership, and whatever commodity we are talking about, it should be mine to pass down from generation to generation (although the Government will tax the hell out of it in the process!).

You are quite right that ownership of the physical recording (ie the tape) is still mine. But that is not worth anything if Joe Bloggs can copy the song from an existing record or CD etc and issue it as a new recording without paying any sort of licence or royalty. OK, the composer will still get his mechanicals, and performing royalties (if it is played in public), but the poor old producer (who may be a corporation but just as likely a musician) who funded the recording suddenly gets nothing.

I don't have a personal axe to grind, because none of my copyrights in sound recordings are likely to be worth very much, and I benefit from the existing system by being able to use out-of-copyright sound recordings for free. But I still think it is morally wrong.

Another alternative to the current arrangements is that copyrights lapse upon death (ie benficiaries don't get anything). At least that would keep all those 50s musos happy in their old age. However, what about the Beatles? 2/4s of the copyright would now be in the Public Domain and 2/4s wouldn't. Tricky to say the least.

The current proposals to extend the copyright in the sound recording to 70 or 95 or life plus something seems sensible, as then there will be some sort of parity with composers rights, and the people concerned will get their income for the rest of their lives, after which I don't suppose they will be too worried!!


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Subject: RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 06:29 PM

Found a biggie: Alice Gomme.

Somebody scan her books for Google or Gutenberg, please?

You can also play any compositions you can trace by Enayat Khan and sing poems by Iqbal or Henry Newbolt for free.

My favourite so far among those I've found on the Wikipedia deaths-in-1938 page is Gelenkhuu, though he is unlikely to have written anything.


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Subject: RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 07:04 PM

Alice Bertha Gomme (1853-1938) is best known for her two-volume masterwork, "The Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland," first published in 1894-1898 (432 and 530 pp. resp. plus introductory materials).
As Thames and Hudson, its current publisher notes, "this is a heavy volume" (currently bound as one volume).

I have a copy; it is indispensible for anyone who has an interest in English folklore, esp. games.


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