Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


public domain

GUEST,Jo Brown 04 May 11 - 12:09 PM
Jack Campin 04 May 11 - 12:16 PM
GUEST,Auldtimer 04 May 11 - 12:16 PM
Richard Bridge 04 May 11 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,Jo Brown 04 May 11 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Jo Brown 04 May 11 - 12:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 May 11 - 01:14 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 May 11 - 01:15 PM
Steve Gardham 04 May 11 - 03:05 PM
Phil Cooper 04 May 11 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Jo Brown 04 May 11 - 03:32 PM
Joe Offer 04 May 11 - 04:12 PM
MMario 04 May 11 - 04:19 PM
CupOfTea 04 May 11 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,Jo Brown 04 May 11 - 06:43 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 May 11 - 08:54 PM
Richard Bridge 04 May 11 - 09:10 PM
Joe Offer 05 May 11 - 01:12 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 05 May 11 - 03:45 AM
Mick Woods 05 May 11 - 05:06 AM
Artful Codger 05 May 11 - 07:26 AM
GUEST 05 May 11 - 09:51 AM
GUEST,Jo Brown 05 May 11 - 09:55 AM
Steve Gardham 05 May 11 - 02:20 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 May 11 - 03:14 PM
Joe Offer 05 May 11 - 03:51 PM
JoBrown 05 May 11 - 06:51 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 May 11 - 08:36 PM
GUEST,leeneia 06 May 11 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,leeneia 06 May 11 - 09:05 AM
JoBrown 06 May 11 - 10:47 AM
Jack Campin 06 May 11 - 11:41 AM
DebC 06 May 11 - 12:00 PM
ollaimh 06 May 11 - 02:58 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: public domain
From: GUEST,Jo Brown
Date: 04 May 11 - 12:09 PM

I'm trying to record and album of traditional tunes. I have seen the list at www.pdinfo.com , but I'm finding some of the songs I love to sing are not on their list. How do I go about finding if a song is public domain or not. I don't really have the money to pay royalties and even though I am small time I don't want to step on any toes.

Thanks for your help! I've gone here many times to find out histories, lyrics, and chords. You all are a fount of knowledge!

Jo Brown


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 May 11 - 12:16 PM

It would help to know where you got the material.

Just because there is a traditional older-than-dirt public domain version of a song or tune, that doesn't mean the version you have will also be public domain. In particular, if you are using guitar chords you learned from somewhere rather than making them up yourself, there is almost NO chance they will be public domain. The whole genre of guitar-chorded songs isn't old enough. The copyright in those chords belongs to the arranger who thought them up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: GUEST,Auldtimer
Date: 04 May 11 - 12:16 PM

Google, first try every time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 May 11 - 12:29 PM

Decide which country you are in. Copyright law differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: GUEST,Jo Brown
Date: 04 May 11 - 12:33 PM

I'm in the USA.

I get songs from all over. My normal way is to check out the Rise Up Singing Songbook, then troll youtube for them.

Also, I got a lot from this old 8 track that Joan Baez did called Ballads.

Quite often I come up with my own arrangements, though. I know the prerequisite 6 chords that you have to know to play folk songs and I kind of mix them up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: GUEST,Jo Brown
Date: 04 May 11 - 12:39 PM

If a song does not have a copyright after the song in the Rise Up Singing book, does that mean it is public domain.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 May 11 - 01:14 PM

All depends on whether your chords, arrangement, lyrics are those of the original composer, before 1923, after end of renewals or death of composer(s); and possible subsequent arranger/writer. Not always simple.

Entry in "Rise Up Singing" does not guarantee that the song or the arrangement shown is in the public domain

Read U. S. Copyright Law (on line).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 May 11 - 01:15 PM

Several threads on copyright. Read and weep.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 May 11 - 03:05 PM

If you went to early sources like the old recorded singers for your material you'd have a much better chance of hitting public domain and not being accused of breaching a copyright. If you're singing a song recorded by Joan Baez for instance try to find out where she got it from.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 04 May 11 - 03:26 PM

I understand that in the early days of recording jazz musicians would play a familiar tune. If another band wanted to play the same tune, they would purposely change the chord progression, or the title, to make it their own. From your description of what you are doing with ballads, I think you're on the right track.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: GUEST,Jo Brown
Date: 04 May 11 - 03:32 PM

I've changed lyrics here and there to accomodate a slight lisp I have. Does that count? :)

(I'm the only one who hears the lisp I'm told.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 May 11 - 04:12 PM

Hi, Jo-
It's not a bad idea to post a list of songs you're considering in a thread like this one, and ask us. Our collective perspective is better than most resources you can find.

I'm sure you don't mean to say you thought all the songs in Rise Up Singing are in the public domain. "RUS" isn't perfect, but it does give fairly reliable copyright information (and most of the songs in "RUS" are recent and are still under copyright). There are differences in the rules from one country to the next, but I think that in general, you're safe thinking anything published in 1923 and earlier, is in the publich domain.

And, as an aside, we can give you proof (click) that almost every single song copyrighted by the Carter Family, is in the public domain - most Carter Family songs came from sources prior to 1923, even though the Carter copyrights are more recent.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: MMario
Date: 04 May 11 - 04:19 PM

And the SONGS may be public domain and specific ARRAMNGEMENTS copyrighted.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: CupOfTea
Date: 04 May 11 - 04:54 PM

MMario - how do you figure out if you're playing someone's arrangement if you're not doing a faithful reproduction of the dots/key/instrumentation?

Even in cases where I've started with the sheet music from an artist I'm using as a source, by the time I get around to having it polished enough to sing, I may have changed keys, chord placement, tempo, use of repeats, possibly even words. With ballads, in particular, I may have heard a dozen different variants of say, "House Carpenter" - and what I sing is descended from Pentangle, Joan Baez, Peggy Seeger/Ewan McColl, one verse swapped in from Dan Kedding, melody mushed from wassisface from WV... Sure, the chords LOOK like I'm playing from the Joan Baez songbook - but she wasn't playing an autoharp with the hammer-on kinda thing I swiped from Dave Rice.

Where does one draw the line on SPECIFIC, LEGAL attribution to an individual arrangement or merely saying "from the singing of her and her and him and him and them and these other guys" on lyrics that have their roots in public domain & particularly those with no attributable author?

Re: Rise up Singing copyright - if they're as "good" at that as they are at chords and words, I'd double check for accuracy. I've found both vary considerably from what I have in sheet music for things written in the last 50 years. Copyright there may be like words and chords and sources - a place to START, not the definitive source.

Joanne in Cleveland


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: GUEST,Jo Brown
Date: 04 May 11 - 06:43 PM

I do know that not all the songs in the RUS songbook are in the public domain.

Ok, so here is a list of songs I'm considering:

Wildwood Flower
Willie Moore
Fare Thee Well (Ten Thousand Miles)
Rambling Irishman
Shady Groves
Matty Grove (with only my husband on his wooden headed drum as accompaniment)
The Ash Grove
Loch Lomond
Wild Mountain Thyme
Geordie
Fair and Tender Maiden
House Carpenter
Henry Martin
Wayfaring Stranger (found a version of this in an old Broadman Hymnal!)
Down in the Valley
Pretty Saro
Parting Glass
Banks of the Ohio
East Virginia (I was born in East Virgina, North Carolina I did roam)
Black is the color (but not the melody by John Jacob Niles)
Jacob's Ladder
All My Trials
Ye Jacobites by Name
Ae Fond Kiss
Now Westlin Winds
Peggy Gordon
Trees they Do Grow High
Wind and Rain
Once I knew a Pretty Girl
Red River Valley
Pretty Polly
Cotton Fields of Home (another one with just the drum)

I also have in the works a cd of hymns. Perhaps I'll start a new post for that one.

Thanks for the help. If you are interested, I have videos of me singing up at www.jobrownmusic.blogspot.com

I'm starting to think I need to get back into songwriting again.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 May 11 - 08:54 PM

In them old cottonfields back home= Cotton Fields- Huddie Ledbetter listed as composer. Probably not pd.
All My Trials- some of material old, but most sing Pete Seegar or Joan Baez versions. Part English, part Negro spiritual, part several folk singers.
Wind and Rain- The Twa Sisters? But watch out for Gillian Welsh and Lee Clayton arrangements.

Most seem safe, but I dunno.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 May 11 - 09:10 PM

If you are in the US you should do Library of Congress search which will tell you who is claiming relevant copyrights - and on what.

Wrongful claims of copyright can sometimes be challenged, but it is often more expedient to avoid the songs in relation to which there are such claims of copyright.

If you don't find a registration and you are in the USA your position is better but not necessarily bulletproof.

I would watch out for Matty Groves, the tune often used is probably Steeleye Span and since it is of non-US origin teh bars on copyright enforcement without registration are less onerous, after the (defective) US implimentation of the Berne Convention.

Trees they do Grow High often uses a Martin Carthy arrangement.

I'd be very wary indeed of Peggy Gordon - references in the song to concrete make is quite likely that the composer died less than 70 years ago.

There are LOTS of arguments about the Wild Mountain Thyme - many about whether the Clan McPeake have claims to relevant copyrights.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 May 11 - 01:12 AM

Let me turn your list into links to our threads on these songs. That may help. Some of these links, like "Pretty Polly" and "Fare Thee Well," for example, may not be the song you're singing because there are multiple songs with similar titles. I couldn't find "Fair and Tender Maiden" - it's not "Fair and Tender Ladies," is it?

As Richard says, some may have melodies or arrangements or new lyrics that are under copyright, but I think most came before 1923 and are in public domain. I suppose there are some that might have a valid copyright - but I'd be tempted to let the copyright holders prove it, since all of these songs have traditional roots. I don't know where Richard found a version of Peggy Gordon that mentions concrete. I'd like to see that one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 05 May 11 - 03:45 AM

The Romans used concrete.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Mick Woods
Date: 05 May 11 - 05:06 AM

Concrete?

Not in the Peggy Gordon that I know!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Artful Codger
Date: 05 May 11 - 07:26 AM

WARNING: thread creep.

Joe: While most of the Carter Family songs in their original forms are now public domain, the Carters altered them substantially, as the behest of their manager, Ralph Peer. The most familiar versions now usually stem identifiably from the Carters' altered arrangements, which ARE copyrighted. Some songs were wholly the Carters' creations, as were the music for some songs which came to them in text-only form.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 11 - 09:51 AM

Fair and Tender Ladies not Maidens. Ooops!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: GUEST,Jo Brown
Date: 05 May 11 - 09:55 AM

And also, wow! Thanks so much for all the links!

I do not mean Mary Ann for Fare the Well. I'm almost certain it would be under copyright. I just have a feeling. (Especially considering I have this great harmony worked out the the version I do and you can't harmonize with yourself on stage. Grrr!)

I'll keep digging for that one, including digging here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 May 11 - 02:20 PM

Most of the songs here are very old. I can show you some ancient versions of 'Ten thousand Miles' for instance. If you alter the syntax and a few notes here and there anyone trying to claim copyright, if they found out and could be bothered, would have a job trying to prove your plagiarism.

What would be very useful is a thread on known cases where someone has been prosecuted for singing a traditional song, be it in someone else's arrangement or not.

I seem to remember when I first got interested in folk music in the early 60s there was a group of people offering to fight any legal case against anyone trying to effectively copyright traditional songs, and if my memory serves me rightly one of them was Bert Lloyd. A pity they aren't still around.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 May 11 - 03:14 PM

Concrete is cement plus aggregate (pebbles, etc.)
"In 1756, British engineer, John Smeaton, made the first modern concrete (hydraulic cement) by adding pebbles as a coarse aggregate and mixing powdered brick into the cement. In 1824, English inventor Joseph Aspdin invented Portland Cement....."
Wikipedia, The History of Concrete and Cement.

Saw a recent TV documentary which showed cement used by ancient Assyrians and later Romans, etc.

The word in the meaning of aggregate particles goes back to 1656 according to Merriam Webster's Collegiate (better info in OED, but I haven't looked).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 May 11 - 03:51 PM

Artful Codger, we could go round and round on the Carter Family songs, and not come up with a conclusive answer. I suppose the safest thing to do would be to pay royalties to everyone who claims copyright on every song, and that would mean paying royalties many times over on a number of songs on this list.

I would suggest that nobody sings "Carter Family songs" the way the Carter Family sang them; and modern interpretations of these songs are often far closer to the original songs, than the Carter Family interpretations were - although the Carter Family versions certainly had influence on all subsequent interpretations.

And I think that's the case with all of the songs on Jo's list. Certainly there are seminal recordings that have an influence on all subsequent interpretations, but the primary source is the original source - and I'll betcha that in most cases, the "seminal" interpreters did not pay royalties to the original source.

So, I say, don't bother paying royalties unless a song clearly comes from one particular source, or if the original source is still eligible to receive royalties.

Who's collecting royalties on Leadbelly songs these days? Do they really have a legitimate right to those royalties?

-Joe-




Jo, can you give us a verse of Fare Thee Well/1000 Miles, so we know which song you're singing? Any others on your list that I mis-linked?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: JoBrown
Date: 05 May 11 - 06:51 PM

What do you know, I forgot I was a member here!

Oh Fare the Well I must be gone
and leave you for a while
if ever I go, I will return
if I go, ten thousand miles
If I go, If I go, If I go ten thousand miles

And here is a link to me singing it: http://www.box.net/shared/l839az35it


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 May 11 - 08:36 PM

Joe, the Lead Belly Foundation is said to deal with royalties for Ledbetters' material.
I don't know anything about them.
Website- www.leadbelly.org.
Contact information given there-
The Lead Belly Foundation
425 North Thompson Lane, suite 102
Murfreesboro, TN 37129

Tanya Singh, executive director
email: leadbellymusic@gmail.com


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 06 May 11 - 09:04 AM

How about the Folk song and Ballad Index?

Here's what it says about Loch Lomond, for example:

Loch Lomond
DESCRIPTION: Singer laments parting from his/her love by Loch Lomond, noting "the broken heart it kens nae second spring." Chorus: "You'll take the high road and I'll take the low road And I'll be in Scotland before ye But me and my true love will never meet again..."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1841 ("Vocal Melodies of Scotland")
KEYWORDS: loneliness love parting separation Scotland lyric
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber)) US(MW)


1841. It's pd.

============
Somebody here said that there could be a copyright on the chords. I don't believe that. I've read a lot about copyright, and I have never seen the word 'chords' anywhere.

Chord symbols aren't music, they just suggestions. If you took five groups of Mudcatters and handed them all the same song with the same chords symbols, you would get five arrangements. If you waited two weeks and did it again, you would get five more.

Keep in mind that while there are penalties for infringing copyright, there are no penalties for claiming a copyright that one is not entitled to. I see ridiculous claims to copyright rather often.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 06 May 11 - 09:05 AM

Here's the URL for that index:

http://www.csufresno.edu/folklore/BalladIndexDocs.html


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: JoBrown
Date: 06 May 11 - 10:47 AM

Diolch, y'all! (That's Tennessee Welsh for thanks you all.)

I feel much better.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 May 11 - 11:41 AM

"The Parting Glass" dates back to 1625 (for the tune) and a bit before 1800 (for the words), both in Scottish versions, but if you want to *call* it "The Parting Glass" you're using a title slapped on to it by an Irish singer in the last generation (who also changed a couple of words in the text).

Go back to older print sources and you can find something essentially indistinguishable but which you can know to be PD.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: DebC
Date: 06 May 11 - 12:00 PM

I just want to point out how instructional and informative this particular thread is. Thanks Jo Brown for enquiring.

Great info here. I also have to agree with whomever it was that said to go back to the source singers. I did that with my recording of songs from the Helen Hartness Flanders Collection and was advised by an attorney that since I learned the songs by ear (and thus adapted my own arrangements) from the source recordings that I was in the clear when it came to copyrights.

Debra Cowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: public domain
From: ollaimh
Date: 06 May 11 - 02:58 PM

american copywrite laws are spreading. its an atempt by neo cons to extend their version of property rights to every area they can. luckily if you challenge them they will usually back down thie idea that one could copywrite an arrangement of a traditional song has very little legal merit--although it is often claimed. the smallest difference in your interpretation will get you out from under neath these claims, but many are intimidated.

its called the new enclosuer movement by some. a parrallel to the englisdh law enclosing public land in the first rise of laissez faire capitalism.

to fight their claims can be too intimidasting but i have been once approached and i plitely told them sue me(over the arranement of several jigs and reels), they didn't when they realized i used to be a lawyer and could easilt defend the claim with my left foot while they spent piles o bucks.

the bounds of "arrangement' copywrite should als be limited, but as it stands do a few changes and file your own claim. i used to do it all the time. i usually learn jigs and reals by ear--i usually make enough mistakes to claim its my arramgement anyway. the idea that you can copywrite chords is silly. i challenge anyone to make that stand up in court for a three to five chord arrangement. for a complicasted fingerpicking arrangement like those by martin carthy well maybe thats reasonable.

my favourite example is "in the jungle the mighty jungle the lions sleeps tonight"

the guy who wrtoe those eight words got the total copywrite in america. the words are a translation from zulu and the somg was written by solomon lindy. he got not a dime, even though has rough recording perceeded the american version by decades.

whenever i get the chance to give input to public forums i always say if they want to protect the rights of composers and origional creators, as they always claim, they need only do one thing: make origional copywritie un transferable in law from the creator under any conditions. then you could only lease the rights. music undustry types freak at that one--all the mopney they have stolen from old black folkies and other poor musicians would evaporate over night.

but if you care about this issue, lobby your legislators to do just that::make all origional copywrite un transferable in law , unconditionally. then creators would have to fear of losing theor work


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 20 September 6:28 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.