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#1095590 - 11/13/15 08:18 PM Copyright Laws are Confusing...  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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The Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) of 1998 extended copyright terms in the United States. Since the Copyright Act of 1976, copyright would last for the life of the author plus 50 years, or 75 years for a work of corporate authorship. The 1976 Act also increased the extension term for works copyrighted before 1978 that had not already entered the public domain from twenty-eight years to forty-seven years, giving a total term of seventy-five years. The 1998 Act extended these terms to life of the author plus 70 years and for works of corporate authorship to 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever endpoint is earlier.[1] Copyright protection for works published prior to January 1, 1978, was increased by 20 years to a total of 95 years from their publication date.

So it all depends on date of publication and whether it's corporate ownership or not. So I'm still not sure if "The Way You Look Tonight" is Public Domain. Jerome Kern died Nov. 11th, 1945. Which would adhere to the “Life plus 70 years” rule. However now I have to figure out if it was corporate owned (like Warner's with Happy Birthday) and also when and whom published it. You would think with the amount of fees the Copyright Office collects for registering songs; they would be obligated to include a public domain list on their website. From what I was told by one of my publishers, the only way one can be sure of PD status is through the Copyright Office. I checked with them a few years back on a song, and they told me it would cost $300 for them to check it out.

All this being said; I have noticed versions of “The Way You Look Tonight” on music library websites. Maybe I should just let it go…

John smile

#1095601 - 11/14/15 12:12 AM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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I re-reviewed the CD I have by Jerome Kern. The song was released in the Movie SWING TIME in 1936 with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. According to Wikipedia a Dorothy Fields wrote the lyrics to the song. According to the Copyright Web Site songs before 1978 were archived in paper files. One other Avenue you can pursue is fill out the form on the Harry Fox Agency for a Mechanical License to see if they have it. If they don't have it I suppose they will tell you. Good luck!

Last edited by Ray E. Strode; 11/14/15 12:14 AM.

Ray E. Strode
#1095610 - 11/14/15 09:21 AM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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Colin Ward Offline
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His co-writer on the song didn't die until 1974 (Dorothy Fields).


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#1095630 - 11/14/15 01:35 PM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: Colin Ward]  
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Hmm... I didn't consider the co-writer Colin. ASCAP lists Aldi Music Co and Universal Polygram as the publishers. I could check with them. My publisher told me that the Harry Fox Agency couldn't help me with the PD status of music. I did send an email to them. I didn't receive a reply.

John smile

#1095651 - 11/14/15 07:12 PM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Originally Posted by John Lawrence Schick
Hmm... I didn't consider the co-writer Colin. ASCAP lists Aldi Music Co and Universal Polygram as the publishers. I could check with them. My publisher told me that the Harry Fox Agency couldn't help me with the PD status of music. I did send an email to them. I didn't receive a reply.

John smile


Hi John,

The Way You Look Tonight was published in 1936. According to this chart ( https://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm ), if renewals were made, then it's not public domain until 2031, 95 years after first publication date. If renewals were NOT made, it's already public domain.

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 11/14/15 07:14 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1095652 - 11/14/15 07:19 PM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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Thanks Mike. It probably was renewed. These publishers cover the bases when it comes down to money. Copyright Office would know, but the info ain't free unless one physically goes to the office and finds it themselves.

Best, John smile

#1095653 - 11/14/15 07:21 PM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 11/14/15 07:21 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1095685 - 11/15/15 01:18 PM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Under Copyright Law you can only Register a song once. You could Register a song for a 28 year period and re-register it once more for a length of 56 years. Then it goes into Public Domain. Since the song in question was probably registered in 1936 and was renewed once the copyright would run out in 1992. This is before the Registration period was changed to Life plus 70 years of the author or last surviving author if more than one.

One more non-expensive thing you could try is go to a music store and see if you can buy the sheet music. Copyright owner and date would be on the sheet music if there is still one. Good luck!

Last edited by Ray E. Strode; 11/15/15 01:44 PM.

Ray E. Strode
#1095691 - 11/15/15 04:50 PM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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Thanks Ray! It's still registered by Universal with ASCAP. I wonder if ASCAP deletes PD tracks from their registrar. Think I'll also inquire about its status with ASCAP.

John smile

#1096305 - 11/28/15 06:19 PM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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Jim Colyer Offline
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I've written over 1000, and none are copyrighted.

#1096383 - 12/01/15 08:37 AM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: Jim Colyer]  
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R&M Offline
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What would be the difference with copyrighting online compared to having it by snail mail?

I also heard of a notre republic from a bank. If I have the name correct.
Maybe copyrighting and publishing have more to do with how much information is lead back to the originator.
I know people that want to copyright inventions instead of songs.

All this information and if it becomes profitable, a lawyer to hold it in place.
But I know that would be too simple.

#1096403 - 12/01/15 01:05 PM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: R&M]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Registering a Copyright Online or by a Paper Form is no different except the Online way is less expensive. Someone that is doing a lot of Registrations may set up to do the online registration.

I just Registered a Book by paper and it now costs 85 dollars.You of course can Register any number of songs at the same time on a single form. The Advantage of doing a Registration is if you have a problem sometime in the Future you have a date certain as your proof to the work.


Ray E. Strode
#1096404 - 12/01/15 01:44 PM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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Yes, as Ray said, makes no difference in registering online or off. As long as it's registered with the US Copyright Office. That's the only valid copyright registration.

John smile

#1097850 - 01/01/16 10:11 PM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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John L., you sure know how to stir things up... and you are so right. Copyright is a topic as well as a target... and the U.S. Copyright Law(s) are being assailed on a broad front by those who would squeeze the meager potential profit of humble songwriters even further.

Your idea of doing your own version of an "Old Standard" is a great approach and if it is still covered by a formal copyright... you can "cover" it as long as you take care of the royalties involved. Like you, I doubt if "The Way You Look Tonight" has found it's way into the realm of "Public Domain."

Jim's point about writing so many songs without formally copyrighting is disputed by many writers regarding copyright law and most of them state that "The moment the lyric is put to paper" or the "song is recorded"... it is, in fact, copyrighted.

Real protection in the United States is only afforded by application for a Statutory Copyright with the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress... and even that will depend on the outcome of a legal challenge... and the strength of your Copyright Attorney in winning your case. Having a Statutory Copyright is certainly stronger (and more expensive) than a de-facto or unpublished copyright. Either "method" must endure and survive a legal challenge in a court of law.

The problem is proving the actual date it became such property in the case of "The de-facto Copyright." This leads to the age-old argument of mailing a lyric, melody or song to one's self and not opening the envelope. This has been proved to be invalid on many instances, I am informed.

Baskerville's "Music Business Handbook" indicates that there are no statutes in place anywhere to guarantee world-wide protection of a copyright. Only the country of origin and the binding agreements between consenting nations are able to provide a modicum of protection.

Although I agree that Copyright Law needs to be streamlined and revised to provide clarity and protection of the Copyright Owner, I'm not at all sure our Senators or Congressmen are capable of hammering out a document that will not unbalance the scales in favor of the Big Guys versus the lowly Creator of the work.

As always, my caveat is to advise that I am not a qualified Music or Copyright Attorney.

Finally, the Copyright Process here in the U.S. is much too expensive and complex. Having said that, I have never tried the "on-line" process Ray mentioned.

Happy New Year! ----Dave

Last edited by Dave Rice; 01/01/16 10:16 PM.
#1097973 - 01/04/16 01:20 PM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: Dave Rice]  
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"Your idea of doing your own version of an "Old Standard" is a great approach and if it is still covered by a formal copyright... you can "cover" it as long as you take care of the royalties involved. Like you, I doubt if "The Way You Look Tonight" has found it's way into the realm of "Public Domain." - Dave

I was told by my publisher it wouldn't be cost effective going this route (for TV use).

You raise some interesting ideas Dave. I've been told to get a copyright infringement case in court (in USA); one must supply a Library of Congress copyright (the only one accepted). After that you're allowed to add any further evidence.

It's funny, being in this music business so long, there's still no absolute when it comes to copyright info. Case in point; the "Happy Birthday to You" fiasco.

Best, John smile


#1098001 - 01/04/16 07:11 PM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Amen, Brother! The Copyright Office still owes me one. They lost it or failed to complete their assigned task several years ago when the 9-11 crisis started all the security measures. They never even bothered to answer my inquiry... but they sure cashed my check. What else is new? LOL!

Later, ----Dave

#1098008 - 01/04/16 07:59 PM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: Dave Rice]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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Originally Posted by Dave Rice
Amen, Brother! The Copyright Office still owes me one. They lost it or failed to complete their assigned task several years ago when the 9-11 crisis started all the security measures. They never even bothered to answer my inquiry... but they sure cashed my check. What else is new? LOL!

Later, ----Dave


A real bummer Dave. Maybe now that the dust has settled The Copyright Office will clear this up.

John smile

#1098016 - 01/04/16 11:10 PM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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John:

I promise not to "hold my breath" awaiting action by these overpaid bureaucrats. LOL!

----Dave

#1098487 - 01/12/16 09:19 AM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: Dave Rice]  
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Yeah, copyrights takes quite a while to get. Furthermore, there are very few lawyers who specialize in this area as well.

The basic rule is that copyrights in the US reverts to a company if the writer dies and it was written in commission, and in Europe the copyright reverts to the writer's family, because you cannot do work-for-hire here (there are very few amendments to the copyright law (as stated in The Berne convention) in Europe, like in the US). My source for that is a danish phd report.

The basic distictions to make is that copyright is different from registration of a copyright. What you get at the copyright office is a registration, which makes it easier to handle a dispute in court. You already have your work copyrighted by default, if you wrote it.

The other distiction is that a copyright is different from a sound recording. The copyright covers music and lyrics and is represented with a (c), and the sound recording (of that copyright) is represented with a (p).

You can register both a copyright (c) and a sound recording (p) with the copyright office. Copyrights are for original and derivative works, and so is sound recordings, but also includes covers of PD songs and new arrangements (derivative arrangements).

I tried helping out with a search, but I couldn't find anything on the copyright.gov site, like I used to could. They seem to have changed it after the criticism in the fall https://www.washingtonpost.com/life...2-5261-11e5-9812-92d5948a40f8_story.html

Reportedly the copyright office had computers from the 90'ies that couldn't handle the data load, so I sure hope they get the systems back up and running smoothly soon.


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#1100599 - 02/19/16 08:02 AM Re: Copyright Laws are Confusing... [Re: Kolstad]  
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R&M Offline
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It seems to follow the same confusion with making out a will.
What is going to be finite with copyright laws that will not be disputed?
It is like tax laws to where only attorneys can figure it out.
Does having as many sources leading to that individual matter or who has the better syllabus with all the "legal" meanings?


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