Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

We want to record Irish trad tunes..
Do you have any idea of copyright policy of these tunes.

1. Morrison - Coppers and Brass
2. Jenny Picking Cockles - Black Smith - Natter Jack
3. London Lasses - Coast of Austria
4. Rolling in Rye Grass - The Earl’s Chair
5. Sweeney’s - Denis Murphy’s - The Cullane
6. Ann Maguire’s Silver Wedding
7. Paddy Murphy’s Wife - Toss the Feather
8. The Maid on the Green - The Ships are Sailing
9. Butterfly - Kesh
10. Shake a Leg - MacArthur Road - Over the Moor to Maggie
11. Mountain Road - Miss McLoed’s - Gravel Walks - The Road to Errogie

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

If they’re traditional and anonymous, they aren’t copyrightable, nor are the combinations of tunes into medleys, but your arrangements, performances, recordings, and printed arrangements are. If we know who wrote them and it was fairly recently that they were written (varies according to country), they are copyrightable, may well be copyrighted,and may still be under copyright, even if they have entered the traditional repertoire. For instance, Anna Maguire’s, MacArthur Road and the Butterfly fall into the category of copyrighted but have entered the traditional repertoire. In the US, music is copyrighted once you say, with the "c in circle", that it is, but it’s a good idea to register the copyright as well if you intend to enforce it. BTW, the "poor man’s copyright" — sending a sealed, certified/registered envelope to yourself — is completely bogus and a waste of postage.

A diligent internet search of the tunes should reveal which category they fall into, and what the appropriate procedures are that you need to follow to comply with applicable copyright laws. If a copyrighted tune has been performed, you cannot be prevented from performing or recording it, but you can be required to pay for the priviledge.

I’ve recorded some copyrighted tunes and songs and made arrangements directly with the composer rather than through a performing rights organization or music publisher. The amount of payment was quite modest, a token amount really ,or even nothing at all. They were just thrilled that I’d asked rather than just going ahead and doing it., They just wanted credit on the recording and a copy of it.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

The Coast of Austria was composed by Tipperary (or maybe Offaly/Laoise) whistle player Sean Ryan.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

In other countries, where laws are more oriented towards protecting people than corporations, all tunes automatically fall under copyright law.

Some tunes may become or be placed in the public domain. This will be the case with most trad tunes.

If you can hunt down the composer, it’s usually your legal and ethical duty to ask for permission before recording and/or performing their tunes.

Of course, a session isn’t a performance :)

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Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

I recorded The Butterfly on my CD and informed MCPS. They did not ask me for a licence fee for that tune. Likewise for City of Savannah. I had to pay for The Barrowburn Reel, The Snowy Path and a song written by my mate but the rights of which are owned partly by a record label.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

Road to Errogie is written by Adam Sutherland, fiddler over here in scotland with various groups including the Peatbog Faeries. Last I heard he still hadn’t registered it for copyright, but for politeness sake you should still ask him if its ok to record it.
I reckon you could contact him through the Peatbogs website.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

Oh and Macarthurs road is written by Dave Richardson, of Boys of the Lough Fame. Chances are you’ll have to pay to record it, as I’m pretty sure he’ll be registered with the MCPS or have publishing somewhere.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

oh, and Ann Macguires Silver Wedding is registered by John McCusker at MCPS/PRS so you’ll have to pay for that one too I’m afraid!

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

I did my best to find out whether the tracks on my CD were "traditional" or whether they were still subject to copyright. I knew for certain that the one song was, as my friend, who wrote the song, had recorded it previously on Fellside. Snowy Path was composed by Mark Kelly of Altan and Barrowburn Reel was composed by Addie Harper. I had to pay a fee for each of these three tracks. I knew that City of Savannah was associated with one Frank Livingstone and | pointed that out to MCPS, but I didn’t have to pay a fee for it. I also recorded the Northumbrian tune called Hesleyside Reel, which I’d thought was traditional but have since discovered is a recent composition. Similarly with The Butterfly. But MCPS were aware of what was on my CD and I relied on them to advise me as to whether I’d failed to notice any copyright issues. The chap I dealt with at MCPS was Hans Fried. I was very concerned to do the right thing but am less than certain that I achieved this! You can do no more than your honest best.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

pointless discusion. ‘cause no one’s gonna buy it.

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Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

"Gonna buy what?" Michael? Jesus, you really are a sour-faced, cynical old curmudgeon. Talk about predigested, prejudiced eyewash. Actually, I made my CD more than three years ago and I’ve broken even. I don’t actually give a monkey’s mickey as to whether you or anyone else wants to buy it or not. As a matter of fact you’re such a pillock that I’m not even going to tell you where you can read a review of it. Have another tumbler of cheap Scotch, mate, and lighten up.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

And stop responding to "pointless discussions," why don’t you.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

if you don’t care if no one buys it, why make it?

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Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

Send me your address and I’ll send you a free copy, you arrogant turd. And this offer don’t apply to anyone except Michael. See how much I love him, chaps and chapesses?

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

you made it so you could give it away? Moi? Arrogant?

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Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

Right. Here’s a review. Stop arsing about in your usual silly fashion. My offer is time-limited and it’s just for you, face-ache. http://www.irishmusicreview.com/sshaw.htm

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

llig, why did you have to blunder in and interfere with a sensible interesting thread? Some of us have an opportunity to learn something here, and your contributions thus far have been very far from useful … as usual. Arrogant? Yes, you are.

Could you drop your personal slaggings and let others get back to the issue of copyright policy and IT tunes, please. :-) Go and get yourself a drink from the bar, there’s a good lad.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

Tirno, is that even when a tune is commonly played in sessions, performances, on CD’s etc just about everywhere? Are all the people playing it breaking copyright? I mean - h e l p ! that sounds a tad over the top to me. And … surely being ITM, being taken into the body of tunes commonly played, surely to recognise the composer should be enough, shouldn’t it? I mean the whole idea of traditional music is that it gets passed on, so, surely it is okay to pass it on, just so long as the composer is acknowledged? I can understand if there is money involved, but not where there is not, surely.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

I know where your’e coming from, CD, and it does depend where you live, but as a rule your fear is justified. Generally, if the tune is of recent (I think that the meaning of "recent" also depends on the particular jurisdiction), known composition the composer automatically has copyright and is entitled to be paid for the tune’s use (in the same way as Paul McCartney is for his compositions), and the number of people who have gotten into the habit of breaking that copyright is of no significance at all.
*If* the composer wishes to, so to speak, "donate" the tune to the tradition in general, then that is fine, but unless that abrogation of his/her rights is explicit and in writing, you cannot assume that it has been given just because the tune is widely played. The composer’s lawyers can come up from behind and bite you later.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

The other problem is when some artists/composers are affiliated with a collection body. The french trad world is a bit of a problem in that respect. The collecting body, the SACEM, requires that any artists affiliated with it transfer money rights to *all* their compositions and arrangements to the SACEM. Many trad musicians have done this. Some of the most played tunes (in french sessions) are thus under the control of the SACEM. I’m thinking of the Mazurka des Ecoliers de st Genest and La Sansonnette. The original composers are probably fine with it being played, but if there were reasonable money to collect, you can bet the SACEM would be cracking down on it, hard. (on the other hand, most events (bals and festivals) where there are sessions afterwards/during pay a forfeit to cover all the performances of the evening anyway. On the other other hand, it would be nice if those tunes under copyright were declared so that the trad world can recoup a larger amount of the forfeit…)

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Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

The following page has a links to the U.S. Copyright office, ASCAP, and a couple of other places to search for song and tune titles:

http://cdbaby.net/dd-covers

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

Steve, read your explanation above, so that’s where Hans Fried went……if you speak to him again, give him my regards, I remember him from all those years ago at the record shop, what was it called now, Cobbles, or Dolletts, or something like that……

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

Colletts, wasn’t it?

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

Colletts it was. I spoke to Hans on the phone and he was incredibly helpful. I had no idea who he was but later came to realise that he’d almost certainly sold me a good few records many moons ago just down (or up) from Centrepoint! I used to have to go to the university once or twice a year to attend examiners’ meetings (blimey, the Tottenham Court Road traffic used to scare this country boy!), and I always made a point of going into Colletts (not just a record shop but also a refuge for us lefties!). When I made my CD I really didn’t have a clue as to what to do about the several tracks I knew contained copyright material. I rang Hans at MCPS and just asked for his advice and left it to him, having given him the track details of the CD. Naturally, he appreciated being given as much information as possible about composers and dates and all that. The licence for the few tracks involved, for a run of 100 CDs at a maximum price of £7.99 per copy, was about twelve quid. I’m slightly overdue for a renewal but I will get round to it!

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

Well, it’s good to hear Hans’ encylclopaedic knowledge is being put to good use.
And remember, the more you yourself write and register, the less of the total pool of copyright revenue goes to multi-millionaires like Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

Who wants to play their blinkin’ music anyway? (Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, that is.) But I don’t approve of trad musicians who would like to extract their pound of flesh from other trad musicians fer playing their tunes. Goes against the grain. Against the notion of tunes being passed down, around, up, along.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

Have to agree with Clear Drops here that "trad is different" as it’s mostly based on the generosity of musicians past and present who are only too happy to contribute to, and share in the great pool of music which exists out there. To me anyway it would tend to debase the tradition if one had to continually be on ones guard in case you inadvertantly played a tune where you might owe a composer 3 cents! Similarily for recordings someone mentioned having to pay €12.50 on sales of 100 copies - it’s not going to break the bank but equally it’s not going to do much for the composer. However, it does introduce an unnecessary bureaucracy which has no place in our unique traditional culture. I’m not talking about the big commercial outfits like films, Riverdance, etc who are making mega bucks where separate arrangements could apply.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

It was me and it was £12, not euros. The lion’s share of that went on the one song on my CD, which was written and performed by my friend who also produced the CD, the reason for the fee being that he’d recorded it before on Fellside and they jointly owned the rights to the song. Don’t ask me how that works! The two or three tunes that were still under copyright attracted piffling little fees.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

All you folks have said here is interesting. What I need to know is this: If I get together with some friends and we decide to have an ITM session once a month in a local bar in Pennsylvania (USA) are we, or the bar owner, in violation of copyright?

This is all we want to do…….play ITM in a bloody session!!
Not interested in compsong,recording,arranging,etc. But the bar owner was intimidated by BMI and ASCAP type people.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

As an example, our session group plays a lot of O’Carolan tunes. As I recall, O’Carolan lived in the 17th century, long before people were worried about copyright. Even if we did want to pay royalties for playing O’Carolan tunes, to whom do we pay them, and who of O’carolan’s progeny is entitled to the royalties?? I know this seems absurd. But let’s face it, who the hell wrote most of the tunes in O’Niel’s Music of Ireland anyway? Most of them are labeled without a composer!!!

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

We play Ashokan Farewell just about every week. I know that Mr Ungar is very protective of what has proven to be a very lucrative piece of music. Our pub is licensed to play music. Does that cover it? I haven’t a clue. There will be umpteen other pieces we play which are relatively modern compositions, Mountain Road for example. What about Dirty Old Town? I have no idea as to whether we’re breaking the law by performing (oops… ;-) ) these pieces but I know we’re not cheating the composers out of anything and so I’m not looking over my shoulder.

Re: Do you have any Idea of copyright policy of Irish trad tunes?

Generally, folks only start to care about copyrights if you are recording a tune, or making money off it in some way. As far as sessions go, since it all sounds the same, if you just tell folks it is all traditional, who would know the difference?
;-)