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Copyrights on Traditional Songs

GUEST,ChildoftheSea 31 Dec 04 - 08:20 AM
Richard Bridge 31 Dec 04 - 08:32 AM
GUEST,Obie 31 Dec 04 - 09:26 AM
Dave Hanson 31 Dec 04 - 09:35 AM
Richard Bridge 31 Dec 04 - 10:30 AM
Wilfried Schaum 31 Dec 04 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,Obie 31 Dec 04 - 11:48 AM
GUEST,Obie 31 Dec 04 - 12:00 PM
Malcolm Douglas 31 Dec 04 - 12:46 PM
Richard Bridge 31 Dec 04 - 07:53 PM
EagleWing 31 Dec 04 - 08:07 PM
Uncle_DaveO 31 Dec 04 - 08:15 PM
Richard Bridge 31 Dec 04 - 08:28 PM
GUEST 31 Dec 04 - 09:18 PM
GUEST,Banjo Tom 11 Dec 12 - 08:55 PM
FrederickDenny 12 Dec 12 - 02:21 AM
Richard Bridge 12 Dec 12 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,Desi C 12 Dec 12 - 11:07 AM
Deskjet 12 Dec 12 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,John Moulden 12 Dec 12 - 04:51 PM
dick greenhaus 12 Dec 12 - 08:27 PM
Noreen 12 Dec 12 - 09:12 PM
Allan Conn 13 Dec 12 - 02:40 AM
GUEST,leeneia 13 Dec 12 - 10:22 PM
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Subject: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: GUEST,ChildoftheSea
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 08:20 AM

Hello all! I was wondering about copyrights on Traditional Irish songs. Does anyone own the rights? Are the common public allowed to perform them? Just curious if they are in the public domain or not.
A few examples of the songs I mean are:
Flower of Magherally
Water is Wide
Bantry Girl's Lament
etc...

Thanks a lot!
ChildoftheSea


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 08:32 AM

Irish copyright law is very similar to English. A little homework should see you right.

If you are in the USA, US copyright law applies. Again, a little homework should see you right.


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 09:26 AM

If the song is "truly traditional" just ignore any copyright claim because it ain't worth a pinch. You can find several threads here on the subject.
         Obie


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 09:35 AM

There is NO copyright on traditional songs and tunes simply because no one knows who the author is to pay copyright to.
People have attempted to copyright arrangements of traditional songs but to all intents and purposes you can ignore it.

eric


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 10:30 AM

Err---homework required all round.


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 11:17 AM

There is a certain trick to copyright a traditional song used ba a German publishing house: take any folksong, change a word here, and a note there - lo, you have got a new version which is your own!
Remedy: compare with other versions not copyrighted, and use them.


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 11:48 AM


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 12:00 PM

Copyright belongs to the author of a work and is automatic at the time of it's creation, under the laws of most countries. In most cases these rights can be sold to another person or corporation. The burden of proof of creation is with anyone claiming ownership of the work, and this must be traceable to the author. I could claim ownership of "Greensleeves" because I made a slight change, but the burden of proof would be on me to defend my claim. It would not stand a hope in hell in a court of law, but some publishing companies may try to do this to intimidate others. Just tell them to "Go to Hell!"


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 12:46 PM

As it happens, The Water is Wide (the well-known one, that is, with the well-known tune) isn't an Irish song at all; it's English, and a collation of two or three separate Somerset variants (see thread here on the subject) published early in the 20th century by Cecil Sharp. In that form it was in copyright until fairly recently, though I doubt if anyone paid much attention. Sharp died in 1924, so I expect it's public domain now. I think Pete Seeger added a verse that he made up himself, mind you.

There is a lot of misunderstanding on the subject of traditional music and copyright, as some comments in this thread demonstrate. Although traditional songs in the general sense are public domain, specifics are often different: distinct variants may very well be in copyright as a consequence of having been published in print or on record. That won't prevent you from performing them, but there might be a modest royalty to pay if you were to issue recordings, for example.

All the songs you mention have been discussed here, some at length; have a look at those threads (you can find them via the onsite search engine - it's labelled "lyrics and knowledge search") and you'll get a better idea of how it all fits together. For specific answers, you'd really need to tell us exactly where you learned each one; and perhaps where the person you learned each one from learned them, and so on.


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 07:53 PM

I suspect this is a troll


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: EagleWing
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 08:07 PM

"I suspect this is a troll "

Why?

Frank Lane


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 08:15 PM

Suspect which is a troll?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 08:28 PM

The original enquiry: there is so much material both here and elsewhere on the topics.

A quoi bon?


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 09:18 PM

Sorry...new to the site...just learning how to use it all..thanks for your help :)


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: GUEST,Banjo Tom
Date: 11 Dec 12 - 08:55 PM

Public Domain is the legal term. I'm still mystified by all this. It's important to cite authors when they're known, out of respect.

Best ~ Tom Hanway


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: FrederickDenny
Date: 12 Dec 12 - 02:21 AM

I seem to remember that copyright law altered a few years back and the new limit was 70 years after the writer's death.

One of the ways publishers used to get the copyright when the song became PD was to have a new arrangement made of the accompanyment

Frederick


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Dec 12 - 06:21 AM

I repeat - PICK YOUR JURISDICTION. Berne Convention is life + 70 (and to 31 Dec).

I have always regarded "Public Domain" as a proper term only in the USA and US-alike jurisdictions. And since there are important differences particularly in the USA between items which failed to acquire or lost copyright, on the one hand, and items in which copyright expired by effluxion of time, on the other, and those are sometimes VERY important in computing the term in other countries pursuant to convention, I thing "out of copyright" is arguably the better expression.

If an item without copyright (and in which copyright cannot be resurrected) is arranged, the arrangement may have (and is likely to have) copyright in most jurisdictions - but that copyright is ONLY IN THE ARRANGEMENT.


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 12 Dec 12 - 11:07 AM

If the song is clearly labeled Irish Traditional then it isn't copyrighted. But do research individual titles. Songs such as Dirty Old Town, Fields of Athenry, Town I loved so well often get titled Irish Trad. but Dirty Old Town is in fact English and about Salford writteb by Ewan McColl. Fields Of Athenry is in fct Contemprary by Ian st John, and town I loved so well Irish but contemporary by Phil coulter. There are many similar examples. So just make sure a trad song is indeed just that. Soodlums Irish Song book is a good reference


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: Deskjet
Date: 12 Dec 12 - 12:54 PM

Coincidentally I put
this
on Youtube yesterday.
I got an email from Youtube today saying thet Harry Fox has previously claimed copyright. Now I'm thinking that some anonymous no-good fecker is claiming copyright, so I have disputed the claim, counterclaiming that it is Tradtional, with my own arrangement.
(If however Nic Jones is claiming my version is too close to his, I will gladly retreat on the matter!).


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 12 Dec 12 - 04:51 PM

If you learned it from Harry Fox, he might have rights over the arrangement but if you learned it from elsewhere, he can go hang.


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 12 Dec 12 - 08:27 PM

A copyright is a claim of ownership, no more and no less. If you can show an earlier publication of a song, you have nothing to ory about.


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: Noreen
Date: 12 Dec 12 - 09:12 PM

:)
Thanks for the smile Desi: you've no doubt by now realised your deliberate mistake- Fields of Athenry was written by
Pete St John, while Ian St John played for Liverpool FC in their glory days (no relation) :)


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: Allan Conn
Date: 13 Dec 12 - 02:40 AM

"he can go hang" I think he died about 40 or so years ago!


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Subject: RE: Copyrights on Traditional Songs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 13 Dec 12 - 10:22 PM

This thread started in 2004. But to answer the question from the US point of view, there's this from the U of Colorado:
================
How long does copyright protection last?

The length of protection varies depending on when the item in question was created (the laws changed in 1978). If the expression was created:

Before 1978: The expression is protected for 75 years, beginning on the date of publication.

After 1978: The expression is protected until 50 years after the death of the owner (if owned by an individual), or 75 years from the date it was published (if owned by an institution).

2012 - 75 is 1937. If an American song was collected, printed, written or recorded before 1937, then the song is no longer copyright in the U.S.

Some people claim they can copyright their ARRANGEMENT of a song, but I have searched the pdf of copyright law at the copyright.gov site, and the word 'arrangement' isn't even in it.

After 1978, things get hairy. How are we supposed to identify all those owners and determine their death dates? It doesn't make much sense.


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