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29 messages


18 Jul 01 - 12:44 PM (#509659)
Subject: copyrights
From: GUEST,ghardy, ethnomusicologist

The Digital Traditions Database is a great source for finding copyright information.

Various initials appear the end of many song text entries.

What do the following initials stand for?


What does APR99 mean? Date of copyright?

Please respond to as well as to the chatroom.


18 Jul 01 - 12:51 PM (#509663)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Bill D

APR99 is the particular update that a song was added to the database...the initials are usually just to identify who submitted it

18 Jul 01 - 08:12 PM (#510019)
Subject: RE: copyrights

Do not use the database as a source of copyright information. Works have been included on this database without permission and without credit.

So, although many non-copyright works have been justifiably included - copyright works are being included without consent - and worse without accurate back up information on modern songs, which could have worldwide repercussions.

Nor should you trust record credits - although many times the correct inforamtion is given often there are mistakes made - or parties deliberatley try and sneak through a regsitration on a work by sticking down trad arr. even if it is a modern song.

Generally you should consult a balance of sources and check with organsiations such as PRS/MCPS who you can phone or write to for information (as long as the title isn't too common).

Incidentaly my late father in Scotland once got sent an Irish country record to review for a paper. The title track seemed familiar - but it was down to a completely different author. Turned out it was my father's own song, which the record company mixed up with another of a simlilar title. If he hadn't got sent a copy for review he wouldn't have known. Never trust a single record credit or source.

19 Jul 01 - 01:59 AM (#510168)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: SeanM

Well, the GUEST is a little more hysterical about it ('worldwide repercussions'?) than I'd be, but DOES make the valid point - Don't trust any source absolutely on copyright information.

It varies wildly from nation to nation to begin with. Add to that the fact that publishing companies will gladly lay claim to lyrics long in the PD, other artists often think that they've come up with 'original' works that aren't, and other silliness, the byzantine nature of copyright law to begin with, and you've got a recipe where noone's really able to say what's certain, except that copyright is chaotic.

As to the DT - the actual Digital Tradition attempts to properly credit authors, and as it has been explained on several occasions attempts to comply with relevant copyright laws. Look up threads on the "Harry Fox" "protection agency" for more info on that issue. As to the Mudcat Forum, it IS an unmoderated forum, and protected material may at times get posted. I believe that it is the policy of the forum to delete such material upon being informed legitimately that it is in violation of copyright protections.

But, I'm also just a poster here. If you REALLY want to find out for certain what Max (the site's webmaster) has set for policy, go up to the upper left hand side of this window and click on the "help" link, and then click on the link to email Max. He IS a busy man (given that this site is NOT a moneymaking business, he has to do SOMETHING to keep fed), but he (or someone else that he designates) could probably answer any legitimate concerns about copyrights and the Mudcat site.


04 Apr 09 - 05:27 PM (#2604740)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Clontarf83

My band is getting ready to record our first cd. Most of the music is original, but we have two songs of uncertain ownership. The first is Banks of Sicily, which appears in the mudcat archive but is not attributed to anyone. I have rewritten the lyrics to change the location and time to afghanistan now, so would need permission for that if there is an identifiable owner. The second is Peat Bog Soldiers which was written in a german concentration camp in the early 30s.
I haven't a clue how to find the owners. I live in Canada. Suggestions??

04 Apr 09 - 05:35 PM (#2604748)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Folkiedave

Banks of Sicily is Hamish Henderson.

Pete Seeger recorded PBSoldiers. See who he paid!!

04 Apr 09 - 06:54 PM (#2604769)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Leadfingers

As Dave said . Banks of Sicily - Words by Hamish Henderson (And Copyright) Tune is Farewell to The Creeks , which I am pretty sure is P D !
Its an old Scottish Pipe Tune

04 Apr 09 - 08:41 PM (#2604800)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: curmudgeon

Farewell To the Creeks, composed by Hugh Robertson, c. 1919, may be out of copyright - Tom

05 Apr 09 - 05:44 AM (#2604940)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Howard Jones

Info on Peat Bog Soldiers here (the usual Wikipedia caveats apply):

Wikipedia - Peat Bog Soldiers

It doesn't say who is responsible for the most usual English translation.

05 Apr 09 - 07:18 AM (#2604967)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

Regarding the "Peat Bog Soldiers."

You will find a full discussion in the Mudcat forum.

You will also find a VERY interesting interview from Radio Goethe. Registration is free ... use their Search Form
The Story of the Peat Bog Soldiers
From Arndt Peltner


05 Apr 09 - 01:13 PM (#2605104)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Mysha

Hi Clontar,

An interesting combination: Both were originally written in captivity in Germany.
The "Hugh Robertson" who wrote "Farewell to the Creeks", I think, is called "James Robertson". He survived the Great War, but I don't know whether he lived to see war break out again (seventy years before now).

There's a thread on Mudcat about The Peat Bog Soldiers, that has quite a bit of information. If you intend to use the English lyrics; nobody seems to know who wrote those. If you're using the same tune as e.g. Pete Seeger, then the tune is out of copyright as it's from the Thirty Years' War.
If on the other hand, you're using the original tune, you'll have to take into account that Rudi Goguel, the composer, died in 1976, which means the tune is probably in copyright. Also, if you do have that original tune, please, add it to the thread mentioned above.


28 Apr 09 - 02:01 AM (#2620202)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Shalini

I'm from India and have been singing Western (UK and Ireland mainly, but also some American) folk music with other musicians only privately until now. If we were to put up a Myspace page or record a small-time CD, how does this copyright thing work? How does one find out who holds the copyright to a song or tune?

Do I have to find out about Indian copyright laws because I'm in India, or the laws of the country which holds the copyright? About how much would one have to pay?-is it per unit sold/produced or is there some fixed amount payable? Do I just go directly to the artist or to some organisation?

If we DO record, we'd like as far as possible to play stuff in the public domain - we really can't afford to spend money on making music right now. Is there some way I can find a list of songs in the PD?

Thank you,

28 Apr 09 - 02:18 AM (#2620210)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Shalini

Also, if a known artist recorded a song, how can you tell who they paid?

Are arrangements also copyright? If so, how can you tell when an arrangement is different enough to be free of that copyright? One is bound to be influenced by the arrangements one has heard.


28 Apr 09 - 02:24 AM (#2620211)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: pavane

There IS a web site somewhere which attempts to identify PD material, but its songs are mostly very old (over 100 years) and it does not identify specific versions which may be subject to more recent copyright. Sorry I don't have the URL.

Secondly, YES arrangements are certainly subject to copyright, even arrangements of PD tunes. If a copyright holder objects, it can be up to the courts to decide (As George Harrison found with My Sweet Lord)

28 Apr 09 - 02:34 AM (#2620213)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Shalini

When does all this apply? When you are actually making money? It all seems quite frightening - perhaps it's simpler to stick to playing privately!

28 Apr 09 - 03:19 AM (#2620230)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Richard Bridge

Shalini, Indian copyright is very like UK copyright. There aren't many Indian lawyers who know a lot about is, but one is my friend Pravin Anand, of Anand and Anand. He used to act for Phoolan Devi, the famous dacoit, and may do the occasional thing for a good cause. I assume you can look him up readily.

28 Apr 09 - 03:25 AM (#2620231)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Shalini

Many thanks, Richard. Are you saying then, that if I were to sing these songs, Indian copyright laws would hold, and not the laws of the country where the song originates?

28 Apr 09 - 05:48 AM (#2620292)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Richard Bridge

If you are in India, yes.

29 Apr 09 - 05:19 AM (#2621049)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

SHALINI - do not worry about practicing and performing just have FUN.

The "copyright police" that so many refer to here at Mudcat are a peculiar aberration of British pubs and clubs and their local laws.

A special large chunk of "legal loophole" applies to your position as an educator. The "Fair Use" of material for educational classroom purposes is broadly permited and encouraged. To be an educator and scholar requires that you deal with the communication of ideas and information embodied in copyrighted material.

On a similar subject - related to the history of copyright.

Rudyard Kipling of UK and India fame was involved in cases establishing copyright law. Concuring with him on the issue was Mark Twain.

This piece from the New York Times - 1901- captures part of the humor and drama of the issue.

Twainquotes Sincerely,

29 Apr 09 - 05:47 AM (#2621061)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Shalini

Gargoyle, thanks for the encouraging post and for bringing some humour into the thread. I am not worried about my performing music within the educational realm, though - I ask this question thinking about the possibility of recording music with some other musicians.

It seems to make sense to just write to the concerned musicians/songwriters when the time comes, and to see where things go? The difficult part seems to be to find out who actually holds the copyright to a particular version of words/tune/arrangement!

29 Apr 09 - 09:53 AM (#2621187)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Richard Bridge

Garg, if you don't know, don't try to teach. India has had three copyright acts since 1901, all resembling (to a greater or lesser degree) UK law, in which the "fair use" exemptions (in fact strictly speaking there is no such thing, but there are analogies) are vastly less generous than US law. Shock and awe has so far not provided US copyright law throughout the rest of the world.

22 Sep 10 - 01:44 PM (#2991573)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

New material from Billie Holiday, Coleman Hawkins, Herchel Evans, Lester Young and others surfaced when the son of audio engineer William Savory donated recordings of about 1000 performances to the National Jazz Museum.
The Museum is cleaning and digitizing the recordings.
Only excerpts can be offered because of the way copyright laws work.

Although the Museum paid for the recordings, the music cannot be distributed until the estates of the musicians can be located and compensated. Many are difficult to track down.

Jazz Museum officials are hopeful that a blanket payment to the American Federation of Musicians might solve the problem.
NY Times, Editorials, Sept. 2010.

23 Sep 10 - 08:42 AM (#2992165)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Richard Bridge

Reform on orphan works is mooted at EC level. Whether that will be relevant to what look more likely to be issues of US performers' rights (which I thought did not exist - certainly the US used not to be a signatory to the Rome (Performers') convention).

23 Sep 10 - 01:42 PM (#2992374)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Performers rights are fully protected under U. S. copyright laws.
Chapter 10, subchapter C; 1006: Entitlement to Royalty Payments. Parts of other subsections also apply.
Escrow accounts for non-featured musicians are included.

Click here

23 Sep 10 - 02:40 PM (#2992421)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Uncle_DaveO

Shalini asked:

When does all this apply? When you are actually making money?

Under US copyright law, at least, the question of selling, giving, price, and profit does not arise. If one uses another's copyrighted material to create a book, CD, DVD, etc., just to give it away, never intending to sell it, he is still using the (possibly) copyrighted intellectual property of the author/composer or his assigns, and those people are entitled to reimbursement.

It is true, of course, that it's possible that those who own the copyright don't care, or don't know their rights, or that they can't identify the use of their property in the blinding buzz of the market, or can't locate the infringer, and the infringer may never be caught or charged or punished. But that doesn't change the actual rights and wrongs of the situation.

Dave Oesterreich

23 Sep 10 - 04:44 PM (#2992491)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Richard Bridge

Interesting. When and why did that happen? Consequence of one of the WIPO rounds? The US position used to be that artists should bargain for contractual rights at the time of agreeing to perform. Without a lot of brainache, at a first glance it looks better than the UK way of doing it.

23 Sep 10 - 06:05 PM (#2992547)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Over thme, Congress enacts amendments to Copyright Law. The present Copyright Law includes provisions and revisions passed by Congress through 2009.
THe Law is available both in printed and online form, Circular 92.

Satellite transmissions are among the recent additions, and several bills with amendments and additions have been put forward in either the House or Senate this year (2010) but have not yet been passed (they may die if support is not obtained in Committee).

The basic Law on which subsequent amendments have been made was enacted in 1976.
Subsequent amendments and additions were made in 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 (the extensions called the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act, and the Millenium Copyright Act), 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008; supplementary provisions also were made (mostly covered in the Appendices).

I have not checked which amendments includes the provisions about performers; I suspect several apply.

It is necessary to have the latest version in order to be correct in application of copyright law.

23 Sep 10 - 06:39 PM (#2992561)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Richard Bridge

Yes, thank you, Q, I knew much of that. It is curious that the USA having set its face against the Rome (Performers) Convention should have made this change - which is why I suspect WIPO.

23 Sep 10 - 08:49 PM (#2992625)
Subject: RE: copyrights
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

WIPO took in much of the Rome Convention, which in turn became part of the Millenium Act, which was approved by the U. S. Congress.