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Re: [Fwd: Re: [Fwd: Re: Musical files and chords]]

On Wed, Jan 21, 2004 at 08:14:09AM +0100, Raphael Goulais wrote:
> Hi all,
> Here is a mail I received from mma's upstream. He provides a link to a
> page giving good information on public domain musics, and how to
> identify them. I found the explanation useful, and have be referenced
> somewhere (like the archives of this list).
> Raphael
> -----Message transféré-----
> > From: Bob van der Poel
> > Subject: Re: [Fwd: Re: Musical files and chords]
> > Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 19:08:44 -0700
> > 
> > 
> > >>Given that this is from a professional publisher, who has
> > >>obviously done extremely thorough copyright clearing
> > >>negotiations to get all those 555 melodies in the book, one
> > >>might assume that they did not remove those chord annotations
> > >>without strong legal advice of its necessity.
> > 
> > Well, isn't that interesting. Of course, just because some says "I have 
> > copyright on x", that doesn't mean they do ... see the SCO/Linux debate 
> > for the truth of this.
> > 
> > I wondering if in the songbook case someone wrote the chords over the PD 
> > music? Well, it sure is interesing.
> > 
> > I did a bit of searching, and figured you might enjoy reading the pages 
> > here: http://www.pdinfo.com/identify.htm
> > 
> > Thanks for the info.
> > 


Nice, and I am glad that the licensing issue at hand has been
cleared up, but for the record upstream seems to have gotten the
info in my e-mail wrong, so would you please forward this
clarification to him?

The notice I found does NOT claim copyright to any chords.  And
it is apparently about music that is very much non-PD.

It is a notice from a publisher who was apparently in a
situation similar to yours and had to *remove* chord notations
from 128 songs (out of about 500) because *someone else*
apparently claimed copyright and would not grant a license, even
though the publisher apparently did have a license for both the
melodies and lyrics (since those are still in the book).

Most of the songs in that book had non-expired copyrights at
least at the time of publication, only a few were past the
life+70 limit applicable in this country to almost anything. A
page-by-page comparison to the 411 songs prefix of the first
edition indicates that the majority of the omitted chord
annotations were on melodies by little over a handful of 20th
century Danish and Swedish composers, the most frequent of whom
was still alive when the first edition came out.


The page you pointed to was extremely U.S. centric in its
advice. Last time I checked, Danish Copyright Law applies the
same life + 70 years rule to music as it does to most copyrights
originating in individual human beings (even if later sold to
corporations).  And one still hears of little old ladies who
receive a trickle income from royalties on music written by
their long-deceased father or mother (which is the purpose of
the 70 year period coinciding with the typical life expectancy
of the orphans and widow of the artist).  So in Denmark for
(almost) anything to become PD, you must look at the name of the
composer(s), find out when he/she/all of them died, then see if
that was before (today - 70 years).  And still look for PD
sources to avoid arrangements or edits by longer-living persons.

Example: "Alexander's Ragtime Band" was apparently written in
1911 by Irving Berlin (1888-1989).  So according to pdinfo.com,
that is now PD in the US, but will remain copyrighted here until
2059.  As another example, John Lennon's songs will hold up
until 70 years past the day he was shot in NY, but
Lennon/McCartney songs will stay copyrighted much longer because
Sir Paul is not dead yet.

This message is hastily written, please ignore any unpleasant wordings,
do not consider it a binding commitment, even if its phrasing may
indicate so. Its contents may be deliberately or accidentally untrue.
Trademarks and other things belong to their owners, if any.

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