Determining copyrights for tunes to be used on a recording.

Determining copyrights for tunes to be used on a recording.

Would there exist any directory/index for copyrighted tunes in the tradition, to save researching each and every one you might plan to record?

Re: Determining copyrights for tunes to be used on a recording.

I doubt there is one, but it would be a good idea to have it here.

Re: Determining copyrights for tunes to be used on a recording.

You can make some attempt at the reverse, by looking up tune origins for those that may indicate they were never in, or have exited, copyright.

Fiddler’s Companion
old version: http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/index.html
new version: http://www.tunearch.org/wiki/TTA

Where there is a known composer, you can then contact them either directly, or through the mechanical royalty agencies (depending on country - if listed with them they usually have reciprocity agreements for publication of "covers") for permission and fee schedule.

Re: Determining copyrights for tunes to be used on a recording.

Been there, done that. You just have to hunt. It doesn’t take that long. Probably most current professionals are MCPS/PRS. With many people it’s nice to get in touch and ask about their tune, and all the non-MCPS people I contacted were happy to give permission - credit given of course.

Re: Determining copyrights for tunes to be used on a recording.

If I remember correctly, Don Meade in NY does a lot of the research for releases. You may want to try and contact him.

Re: Determining copyrights for tunes to be used on a recording.

If you’re based in the UK (or perhaps even if not?) you might want to join MCPS/PRS < https://www.prsformusic.com/Pages/default.aspx >. Once a member, you should have access to their database and can check what’s been registered and how.

If you’re intending to manufacture a CD for sale, or even just release the recordings digitally but commercially, you should also be able to get a licence to allow you to do that and ensure the writers, or at least the publishers, are paid. The system is not perfect, but it’s better than a free-for-all.

Generally speaking, for traditional music, if a tune is recognised to be in the Public Domain then it’s the arrangement which can be copyrighted. If, however, the composition is genuinely new and just happens to be ‘in the style of’ a traditional work, then it can be copyrighted in exactly the same way as any other new composition. The practical difference is that unless you copy, pretty much note-for-note, somebody’s arrangement of a traditional tune, you shouldn’t have to pay, but if you record somebody else’s composition, you should.

Re: Determining copyrights for tunes to be used on a recording.

Thanks very much for all the info. I forgot I phrased it like this, and have just submitted a similar query. I appreciate the suggestions and will follow up.