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LEGALITY of using published melody

19 Feb 11 - 12:39 PM (#3098583)
Subject: RE: Who gets credit for writing a song
From: GUEST

Angel
I am writing alot of new words to old hymns.
Someone told me if the original composer has been dead over 50 years it's public domain and you don't have to get permission to use the tune.

The second question is, if I write new words to a modern rock song for instance, do I have to get permission from the composer or band to use their melody with my new words?
Thanks
Angel


19 Feb 11 - 12:43 PM (#3098586)
Subject: LEGALITY of using published melody
From: GUEST,Angel

2-19-2011
Hi
I have written alot of new words to old hymns and am considering publishing them.
I have no problem giving the original composer credit, just need to know legality issue.

Also, if I use the melody for a well known love song or rock song do I have to get permission from the band or composer to use their melody with my words?
Thanks
Angel


19 Feb 11 - 01:00 PM (#3098595)
Subject: RE: LEGALITY of using published melody
From: The Sandman

Angel,why not ask god, or are you a fallen angel, in which case you must be Lucifer.


19 Feb 11 - 01:19 PM (#3098609)
Subject: RE: LEGALITY of using published melody
From: Marje

The usual issue arises: which country are you in? The position in the US is different from in the UK.

Marje


19 Feb 11 - 01:28 PM (#3098614)
Subject: RE: LEGALITY of using published melody
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

If the material is under copyright, you must ask.
Old hymns? How old??
Each piece is a separate problem.

Please see previous copyright threads.
This type of question has been asked and advice given more than once more than once more than once. Another thread is redundant redundant redundant.


19 Feb 11 - 03:12 PM (#3098671)
Subject: RE: Who gets credit for writing a song
From: Joe Offer

Hi, Angel-
The laws vary somewhat from country to country. It used to be 75 years from date of publication until a composition moves into public domain. Now I think it's 70 years after the death of the composer. In the U.S., anything written before 1923 is in the public domain, and stuff written after that falls under the new rules.

Here's an excerpt from the article on copyright in Wikipedia:
    Copyright subsists for a variety of lengths in different jurisdictions. The length of the term can depend on several factors, including the type of work (e.g. musical composition or novel), whether the work has been published or not, and whether the work was created by an individual or a corporation. In most of the world, the default length of copyright is the life of the author plus either 50 or 70 years. In the United States, the term for most existing works is for a term ending 70 years after the death of the author. If the work was a work for hire (e.g., those created by a corporation) then copyright persists for 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever is shorter. In some countries (for example, the United States[34] and the United Kingdom),[35] copyrights expire at the end of the calendar year in question.
You'll find a very good explanation on this page at the U.S. Copyright Office.

-Joe Offer, Forum Moderator-

P.S. I moved both your posts into the same thread. It gets confusing when you post the same thing in a number of threads.


20 Feb 11 - 07:30 AM (#3099017)
Subject: RE: LEGALITY of using published melody
From: SPB-Cooperator

Probably old hat, but possibly a number of 'copyrighted' tunes are traditional tunes which the composer did not bother to check up on.

Another question - what if one comes up with a tune which turns out to be a copyrighted tune that the writer has never heard before - it just goes with the words at the time...