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rules for English/Scottish Copyrights

19 Feb 21 - 10:38 PM (#4093908)
Subject: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: GUEST,mg

i am putting out a new cd..for quite a while it seems. i will not do anything that is ruled by a copyright. no no no. never again. people have to have written it, have written permission to use it or it has to be acknowledged by experts as traditional. What specifically is the rule as applied to Ewan McColl songs?


20 Feb 21 - 04:58 AM (#4093936)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: GUEST,guest

McColl's songs seem to be published by Concord . Perhaps contact them?


20 Feb 21 - 05:30 AM (#4093945)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: Backwoodsman

From the ‘Ewan MacColl Music’ site at Bandcamp...

”This site is maintained by the MacColl family, aiming to make Ewan's catalogue available to download.
Ewan MacColl is known to most as a songwriter and singer, but he was also of significant influence in the worlds of theatre and radio broadcasting. His art reached huge numbers through the folk clubs, greater numbers through his recordings and untold millions through the radio.”


There’s a link to ‘Contact Ewan MacColl’ on the page - might be useful to get the information from Ewan’s family about the legal/copyright status of his songs?

https://ewanmaccoll.bandcamp.com/


20 Feb 21 - 05:32 AM (#4093947)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: Jack Campin

Everything he wrote is still in copyright. So is all the material he collected from living people. That leaves the songs he took from print and manuscript sources. Do the version in those sources - acting as if MacColl had never existed - and you'll be fine. Not much point in labelling the result "Ewan MacColl songs" though.


20 Feb 21 - 10:10 AM (#4093986)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: Nigel Parsons

That leaves the songs he took from print and manuscript sources
Which cannot be assumed to be free of copyright. The rule is death of the author plus 70 years. Unless specifically stated as 'traditional' some of the earlier print sources may have been songs of writers who were still alive at that time, and as MacColl was collecting in the 1950s that is not 70 years+.


20 Feb 21 - 01:07 PM (#4093998)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: Jack Campin

The material he took from paper sources was always very old as far as I know. Things like Hogg's Jacobite Relics.

mg's project looks like a non-starter to me.


20 Feb 21 - 04:41 PM (#4094021)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: GUEST,Rossey

As others state, copyright in songs in the UK is life + 70 years after the death of the author composer - and if valid arrangements of trad. works can hold a copyright if they are distinctive enough to have some originality. In terms of recordings rather than songs copyright is 70 years post publication. Anything pre-1963 recording wise (not song wise), is out of UK copyright (though this is not stopping recording companies making money out of recordings that are in effect public domain).


21 Feb 21 - 08:54 AM (#4094119)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: Howard Jones

If you're making a CD you will need a licence from MCPS. That will certainly cover Ewan McColl songs, and many other modern songs. MCPS will then pay the rights holders. If you a covering a song by someone who is not a member of MCPS (or a similar rights organisation) then you will have to try to contact them directly for permission. There is no licence fee for trad material (provided you are not copying someone's copyright arrangement).


21 Feb 21 - 07:57 PM (#4094194)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: Joe Offer

But if you're recording a song for distribution in the United States, the usual practice is to license the song through a US agency, that's usually the Harry Fox Agency - and they handle the licensing for lots of Ewan MacColl songs.
Go to their songfile.com utility and do a "public search."
Then follow the instructions in their FAQ for licensing. It's about 9.1 cents per copy, in multiples of 500 - so a run of 500 CDs will cost you $45.50 per song. It's a fairly easy process to do licensing for recording. It was lots harder to get licenses to print songs in the Rise Again songbook.

-Joe-


22 Feb 21 - 05:50 AM (#4094246)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: Howard Jones

Good point, Joe. Because the enquiry was about English/Scottish copyright I'd assumed the CD would be made here and would require an MCPS licence. If it is to be released elsewhere eg the US then you get the licence from the rights organisation covering your own country where the CD will be released, and they have reciprocal arrangements with those in other countries so that the rights holders get reimbursed.


22 Feb 21 - 06:57 PM (#4094367)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: mg

Thank you. I have no desire at all to have any song on the CD that he wrote or that there are any copyrights on whatsoever. I'm basically just confirming for someone who wanted to sing a particular song. I already told a dozen people that they can't sing shoals of herring, I will probably never ever do anything with a copyright again but if anybody ever wants to sing any of my songs and you're not rude there should be no problem with me giving permission for free of course. and what did you mean it's a non-starter. It's been started quite a long time ago. It might be a non a finisher but is definitely not a non starter.


23 Feb 21 - 04:30 AM (#4094401)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: Jack Campin

Non-starter because you're setting yourself an impossible combination of objectives. They can't be "Ewan MacColl songs" and not fall under the intellectual property conditions for songs he had rights to.

It's a musical equivalent of Britain leaving the EU while dealing with it as if it hadn't.


23 Feb 21 - 05:10 AM (#4094409)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: Backwoodsman

Jack, a question - I’m guessing that Mary is thinking of perhaps including ‘traditional’ songs collected by Ewan, but not ones written by him. Would the ‘collected by’ songs fall under the IP regs, or are they free for anyone to use?


23 Feb 21 - 08:48 AM (#4094430)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: Jack Campin

Copyright would be in the first instance to MacColl if he was first to publish.

The copyright notice on "Till Doomsday in the Afternoon" is (c) Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, 1986. I guess the Stewarts of Blairgowrie (whose songs they were) had some sort of rights but not via that book publication.


23 Feb 21 - 04:47 PM (#4094496)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: mg

To repeat. I am not going to record any ewan McCall songs. Not now. Probably not ever. I just wanted to give a friend correct information as to why she couldn't sing a particular song. Don't worry about it the songs will be copyright free. Everything will be okay. Hopefully you can play them in the laundromats in Ireland and not get arrested


23 Feb 21 - 06:07 PM (#4094510)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: GUEST,jag

"Copyright would be in the first instance to MacColl if he was first to publish."

That maybe copyright on the pages as printed and on anything in them that stems from MacColl and Seeger's own efforts. If a song or story is reproduced as collected without any editing do they get any ownership of that intellectual property?

If you make up a song and sing it to me and, with your permission but no other sort of agreement**, I put it in a book then anyone photocopying the page will be infringing my copyright and yours. I think that someone learning and singing the song may be infringing your copyright but not mine.

** an agreement or contract could open up a while bag of worms.


23 Feb 21 - 06:08 PM (#4094511)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: GUEST

whole bag


23 Feb 21 - 06:45 PM (#4094520)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: Jack Campin

You can't publish a transcription from a live performance without doing editing.

The raw audio on Tobar an Dualchais is a different story. But even that might be edited a bit. They'll know the legal situation.


23 Feb 21 - 08:14 PM (#4094528)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: Joe Offer

Hi, mg, what do you meam that people can's sing Ewan MacColl songs? Of course they can sing them for non-commercial purposes - but if they record them, they have to pay royalties. If they sing any copyrighted in a paid performance, the venue is supposed to have a performing rights license.

-Joe-


24 Feb 21 - 05:13 AM (#4094572)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar

Yes indeed Joe, you can sing them in public freely, the venue pays a fee to PRS. You may be asked to fill in a form by the venue to be sent to PRS.
If you record them you pay MCPS for use, they give you the permission for use on behalf of [*who they think is] the copyright holder, who is paid by them less their percentage.
*Lots of stories about who has claimed what copyright for which song over the years! E.g. a famous collector paying some cash and saying the singer recorded/collected from could now only sing the song in public for x years under certain conditions.
It is the same in Scotland / Wales / N. Ireland / England.
Different in the USA. I have been paid lump sums direct from singers for permissions to record.


24 Feb 21 - 06:57 AM (#4094576)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: GUEST,Howard Jones

Avoiding all copyright material can be difficult. Some material widely assumed to be traditional is in fact copyright. Some folk song collectors claimed copyright of songs they had collected, sometimes to protect the source singers but probably in some cases for personal enrichment. Versions of traditional songs in circulation are often based on a particular recording by a professional singer, who may have compiled their version from a number of sources and own the copyright in their finished version. It's a minefield and requires careful research.

Trying to ensure that a recording contains only non-copyright material is therefore potentially risky, if it later turns out you have made a mistake. Obtaining a licence to allow you to use copyright material is straightforward and inexpensive, at least where it is registered with a collection agency such as MCPS or Harry Fox.


24 Feb 21 - 09:43 AM (#4094593)
Subject: RE: rules for English/Scottish Copyrights
From: GUEST,jag

"But even that might be edited a bit." I guess so.

However, if a collector or curator can be sure that a song was learned from their collection can they also claim that their collection contains the authentic 'voice of the people'?

I can see if someone treks across a mountain range enduring floods and pestilence to come back with a gem of a recording they may then begrudge the whole world singing a song for free after it is played on the radio. But does Intellectual Property law give them any redress? There will surely be those who say the collector 'stole' it in the first place.