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Help: Public Domain question

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GUEST, 08 Oct 01 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 08 Oct 01 - 05:49 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 08 Oct 01 - 06:02 AM
GUEST,Susan 03 Feb 23 - 09:05 AM
Stilly River Sage 03 Feb 23 - 09:32 AM
Joe Offer 03 Feb 23 - 02:06 PM
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Subject: Public Domain question
From: GUEST,
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 05:16 AM

I'm recording instrumental versions of "Morning Has Broken" and "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" and want to know if they are public domain. Mudcat lists "Morning...", credits Eleanor Farjean with the lyrics and music as trad., and at the end has a copyright date of 1957. With my sax/instrumental version, do I need to worry about lyrics copyright?

"Poor Wayfaring Stranger" gives no credit, and at end simply says recorded by Ives, others. Can I assume this is public domain?

Thanks for any help, Wes

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Subject: RE: Help: Public Domain question
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 05:49 AM

Morning has broken
The tune is noted as Traditional Gaelic melody.

Copyright of 1957 for Farjeon was renewed in 1985.

Unless you are singing words through the bell of your sax you will have No Problem

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Subject: RE: Help: Public Domain question
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 06:02 AM

Wayfaring Stranger will not give you any problem, it has been done by dozens of artists.

Here is some background from one of my favorite sites.

Wayfaring Stranger

The American Revolution meant not only the promise of freedom from British rule, for many it also meant the promise of religious freedom. The Revolution of 1776 marked the first instance in the history of Christendom that a people had won full liberty in the religious phase of their culture. Membership in the Protestant faiths mushroomed between the years 1783 and 1800.

These worshippers were not only religious radicals, but they were also carrying out a musical revolution. They needed songs to match their soaring emotions. The result was they threw out the old Psalms and, as had happened in every revolution in the Christian church, brought folk tunes into the hymn books. Ballad tunes, jigs, marches and love songs were again put into the service of the Lord solemnly dressed up with religious texts that spoke directly to the woes and problems of the individuals who sang them.

The makers of hymnals collected and compiled these new songs into the shaped note system of notation where the notes on the page were distinguished by their shape as well as their position. In the early 1800s this singing tradition took root as The Sacred Harp movement. The Sacred Harp singing movement once involved hundreds of thousands of singers in its meetings and to this day these gatherings still produce a most remarkable type of American singing.

The meetings were, and are run in strict parliamentary fashion with every singer given the opportunity to lead two or three songs. The songs are arranged for four part harmony singing and the singers form themselves into a hollow square pattern - basses, altos, tenors and trebles on their respective sides. The leader gives the number of the hymn he prefers, and after the gathering has rustled through their fat Sacred Harp book to find the proper page, the leader intones a pitch, leads the congregation in a run through of the tune, and the group is off, singing in four part harmony at the top of their lungs.

Wayfaring Stranger falls into the category of religious ballad and is a song for solo performance at a religious meeting or for group shaped-note singing.

The song began to reach widespread popularity with secular, urban audiences when folk song collector, singer, and actor Burl Ives recorded it in the early 1940s--one of the earliest interpretive commercial folk recordings. Ives is an important figure in the popularization of folk music in the mid-1900s and was an artistic contemporary of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger before heading to Hollywood in the 1950s to pursue a film career. For a time, Wayfaring Stranger was synonymous with Ives' grandfatherly image and he sung it throughout his life as one of his signature pieces (Blue-Tailed Fly was another).

Wayfaring Stranger has remained popular with rural people throughout the South and it is certainly one of the most recognizable songs in the Anglo hymn tradition.

Folk Song USA, Alan Lomax, Editor, New American Library.
All Music Guide
Above copy purloined from:

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Subject: RE: Help: Public Domain question
From: GUEST,Susan
Date: 03 Feb 23 - 09:05 AM

Is One Day At A Time public domain

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Subject: RE: Help: Public Domain question
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Feb 23 - 09:32 AM

Written by Kris Kristofferson? Then the answer to that is certainly "NO."

But you could have looked that up for yourself. And Mudcat isn't a copyright clearing center, so don't take my word for it.

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Subject: RE: Help: Public Domain question
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Feb 23 - 02:06 PM

A number of Mudcatters have done copyright permissions work, so we are a pretty good place to check first. We CAN give advice, but as Stilly River Sage says, we are not an official source. Here are the US guidelines for Public Domain. If you live in another country, Your Results May Vary:
    As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years.

Wikipedia has a pretty good article on copyright: A quote:
    In the United States, all books and other works, except for sound recordings, published before 1926 have expired copyrights and are in the public domain. The applicable date for sound recordings in the United States is before 1923. In addition, works published before 1964 that did not have their copyrights renewed 28 years after first publication year also are in the public domain. Hirtle points out that the great majority of these works (including 93% of the books) were not renewed after 28 years and are in the public domain. Books originally published outside the US by non-Americans are exempt from this renewal requirement, if they are still under copyright in their home country.

    But if the intended exploitation of the work includes publication (or distribution of derivative work, such as a film based on a book protected by copyright) outside the US, the terms of copyright around the world must be considered. If the author has been dead more than 70 years, the work is in the public domain in most, but not all, countries.

    In 1998, the length of a copyright in the United States was increased by 20 years under the Copyright Term Extension Act. This legislation was strongly promoted by corporations which had valuable copyrights which otherwise would have expired, and has been the subject of substantial criticism on this point.

It used to be pretty easy from 1998 to 2018 - if it was published before 1923, it was pretty clear you didn't have to pay royalties and license a song. Now things change every year, and we get another year of publications added to the Public Domain. It's complicated, so it's best to ask a professional if you're in doubt. But we can give you pretty good preliminary advice here.

I did the copyright clearances for the 1200 songs in the Rise Again Songbook. I gathered documented evidence about the earliest publication date of every one of those songs - and then our publisher, Hal Leonard made the final decision based on the information I submitted. It was hard work, but I enjoyed it. And basically, the rule on public domain is this: you have to satisfy your publisher. We had several songs in Rise Again that were clearly published before the 1923 cutoff date, but we still had to pay royalties and get a license because there was a copyright claim by a particularly litigious party. Almost all Carter Family songs should be in the public domain, but Ralph Peer's company is still clinging to its claim on most of those songs. Same with "Big Rock Candy Mountain" and other hobo songs recorded by Harry McClintock. And we had to pay rights for "I'm Henry the VIII," even though it was a music hall song published long before 1923 - it had never been published in the USA, so the US clock started when the Herman's Hermits recording was released in 1966.

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