Happy "Public Domain Records Day", America!

Discussions on Records, Recording, & Artists
52089
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Happy "Public Domain Records Day", America!

Post by 52089 »

Yes, it’s January 1, 2022, and in the USA, that means for the first time that some antique sound recordings are FINALLY in the public domain here!

As of today, in accordance with the Music Modernization Act of 2018, all sound recordings published before 1923 are in the public domain and can be used by anyone for any purpose without payment of any kind of royalties, at least in the USA. The underlying compositions are also automatically old enough to be public domain in the USA as well, so go ahead and make all the copies of those pre-1923 records you want and do whatever you want with them.

For more information, just Google Music Modernization Act.

AmberolaAndy
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Re: Happy "Public Domain Records Day", America!

Post by AmberolaAndy »

52089 wrote: Sat Jan 01, 2022 10:33 am Yes, it’s January 1, 2022, and in the USA, that means for the first time that some antique sound recordings are FINALLY in the public domain here!

As of today, in accordance with the Music Modernization Act of 2018, all sound recordings published before 1923 are in the public domain and can be used by anyone for any purpose without payment of any kind of royalties, at least in the USA. The underlying compositions are also automatically old enough to be public domain in the USA as well, so go ahead and make all the copies of those pre-1923 records you want and do whatever you want with them.

For more information, just Google Music Modernization Act.
Makes a lot of us who do YouTube videos about our machines easier! 😅

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Edisonfan
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Re: Happy "Public Domain Records Day", America!

Post by Edisonfan »

…and yet I still get videos flagged for Copyright. Even if they are in the Public Domain.

52089
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Re: Happy "Public Domain Records Day", America!

Post by 52089 »

Edisonfan wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 9:16 am …and yet I still get videos flagged for Copyright. Even if they are in the Public Domain.
Youtube can't tell what is and isn't public domain, they rely on other people for that information. Copyright trolls are everywhere. Dispute the claims and they usually go away pretty quickly.

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Re: Happy "Public Domain Records Day", America!

Post by CarlosV »

Does that mean that all Caruso recordings are in the public domain?

52089
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Re: Happy "Public Domain Records Day", America!

Post by 52089 »

CarlosV wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 10:52 am Does that mean that all Caruso recordings are in the public domain?
I can think of 2 original releases that probably aren't because they weren't published until after 1923. One is the private recording of Caruso singing the bass aria about the old coat (Vecchia Zimarra), which was released in the 1930s. The other is "Sei Morta Nella Vita Mia", which wasn't released until a 1940s promotional issue and wasn't commercially issued until the 1950s.

The "reprocessed" versions with a modern orchestra were also created after Caruso died and so are probably still protected.

Do be aware though of a "quirk" in US copyright law, which is that simply sequencing tracks is considered "creative" enough for copyright. That means if someone issues a CD of public domain tracks, the CD is protected, even if the original tracks aren't!

And again, this is US copyright. In the EU, sound recordings before 1963 are public domain. The original term was 50 years but was extended to 70 years, not retroactively, in 2013.

Again, usual disclaimer (I'm not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, etc.)

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Re: Happy "Public Domain Records Day", America!

Post by CarlosV »

52089 wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 11:02 am
CarlosV wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 10:52 am Does that mean that all Caruso recordings are in the public domain?
I can think of 2 original releases that probably aren't because they weren't published until after 1923. One is the private recording of Caruso singing the bass aria about the old coat (Vecchia Zimarra), which was released in the 1930s. The other is "Sei Morta Nella Vita Mia", which wasn't released until a 1940s promotional issue and wasn't commercially issued until the 1950s.

The "reprocessed" versions with a modern orchestra were also created after Caruso died and so are probably still protected.

Do be aware though of a "quirk" in US copyright law, which is that simply sequencing tracks is considered "creative" enough for copyright. That means if someone issues a CD of public domain tracks, the CD is protected, even if the original tracks aren't!

And again, this is US copyright. In the EU, sound recordings before 1963 are public domain. The original term was 50 years but was extended to 70 years, not retroactively, in 2013.

Again, usual disclaimer (I'm not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, etc.)
Quite informative, thanks!

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Re: Happy "Public Domain Records Day", America!

Post by donniej »

IT'S ABOUT TIME!!!!!
It's absolutely ridiculous that patents and copyrights started out with the same duration..... 25 year..... somehow patents are still 25 years (though it now costs $10K or more to get one) and copyrights on recorded sound are somehow 100 years. The power of large corporations, their lobbyists and the fact that it costs companies $0 to distribute music digitally.

There was an excellent presentation at ARSC a few years ago where the presenter discussed the original thinking behind patent and copyright protection. The original idea was to protect people inventions and creative works for a period long enough that they could earn the profit they deserved for their creativity and hard work, but to also make it short enough that it incentivized them to continue to create new works. So I now wonder if Paul Whiteman is considering new releases, now that his copyrights are expiring?? :roll:

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Dischoard
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Re: Happy "Public Domain Records Day", America!

Post by Dischoard »

donniej wrote: Mon Jan 03, 2022 6:52 pm So I now wonder if Paul Whiteman is considering new releases, now that his copyrights are expiring?? :roll:
Ha! He may find that musical tastes have changed a little ;)

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Re: Happy "Public Domain Records Day", America!

Post by Inigo »

Just on Christmas night I played Choo-Choo to my family and it had a very good reception.... But it doesn't count, it's my family! :D
But years ago I used to play Song of the Dawn (Bing, vocals) as a reminder of lunch time to my colleagues at work, in my PC alarm. And it was a favourite... I left copies of that mp3 file to some of them...
Whiteman renditions are so clean, tidy, good sounding and powerful that it's a stallmark in collecting 78s... They're great showpieces!!
Inigo

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