Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

Hi all,

Recently I made a video of myself playing a Scottish retreat march, Farewell to Nigg. Posted it on Youtube and automatically got a copyright claim, apparently, it’s a "composition claim".

It’s not causing me any problems apart from not being able to monetize the video, and monetizing my videos is not something I need to worry about 🙂 I just post them for the sake of it and to share them with friends and family (if someone else watches them, happy days).

Even though this claim is not really affecting me in any way it really annoys me to see that "Copyright claim" whenever I go into my channel so I’m thinking I might dispute it. However, I’m not sure if the tune is in the public domain or still copyrighted. Also, I based my version on Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas’ recording. I haven’t nicked it completely but used some of their harmonies in parts of the tune (one particular part, really). Maybe that’s what’s copyrighted?

Thanks!

Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

According to The Fiddler’s Companion site entry on the tune ‘The melody was composed by Duncan Johnstone of South Uist, Shetlands, and Glasgow in the mid-1970s.’

http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/FAR_FARE.htm

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Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

A quick search says it was composed by Duncan Johnstone who died in 1999, so it could still be under copyright as part of an deceased estate. Depending on country, compositional copyright on a piece lasts for 50 or 75 years after the composer’s death. So Bach in not copyrighted but e.g Bob Dylan, and Duncan Johnstone are. Given that you’re not making any money off it, usually the copyright owner/s won’t bother you any further.

Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

That would be a legitimate copyright claim, I’d say. David. Don’t dispute it, you will almost certainly lose. It is certainly not old enough for "public domain" to apply.

A "Google" came up with this listing for his collection of tunes published :

"Complete Compositions - D Johnstone
Duncan Johnstone, 1925 – 1999, was a prolific composer of excellent pieces. Some of his tunes are part of the standard folk and piping repertoire already.

Complete Compositions - Contains:

34 Marches,
8 Strathspeys,
1 Reel,
20 Jigs,
3 Slow Airs and
3 Piobaireachd all written out fully in piping notation.
Marches include:

Farewell to Nigg"*

* I cut it off there, but "Farewell To Nigg" was the first tune mentioned.
Hope this helps, Kenny

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Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

Crosspost with GW.

Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

Fair enough. Thanks! I’ve had other claims before for tunes that were composed more than 100 years ago. Wasn’t sure about this one’s copyright.

Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

"Youtube" copyright claims made on traditional tunes can be successfully challenged, I’ve done so myself on several occasions. If you are playing and uploading a tune yourself which is traditional, and, for instance you can show that it was published in "O’Neill’s" in 1907, I don’t think anyone can claim copyright royalties on that piece of music or your performance, although some agencies do try. You do need to be sure of your basis for making a challenge however, and recent compostions outwith the "public domain" are certainly more problematic.

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Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

As I’ve mentioned before, remember that copyright can have long arms. If someone wrote a tune aged 18, and died 75 years ago at age 90, that tune could have been published in 2020-75-(90-18)=1873 and would only be leaving copyright now.

Duncan’s son, Neil, is a musician and actively administers Duncan’s estate, for what it’s worth.

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Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

Yeah, I’ve got two claims at the moment.

One is Farewell to Nigg, which says:

Farewell to Nigg
Video uses this song’s melody
Copyright owners Wise Music Group

I’m pretty sure this is a music publisher claiming I’ve used music from their recordings, not an actually claim about the composition, but who knows. I’ll just let it be.


And other one is a Dashing White Sergeant

Dashing White Sergeant/Galloway House/Roxburgh Castle
Video uses this song’s melody
Copyright owners ICE_CS, APRA_CS, SGAE_CS

I mean, as far as I know the DWS was written in 1826, I highly doubt they have the rights to the melody. I’m pretty sure they have the rights to that particular recording (Dashing White Sergeant/Galloway House/Roxburgh Castle), the tune? I don’t think so. I’ve disputed that one.

Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

"If someone wrote a tune aged 18, and died 75 years ago at age 90, that tune could have been published in 2020-75-(90-18)=1873 and would only be leaving copyright now".
I know that the whole copyright issue is a legal minefield, and I’m always willing to bow to superior knowledge, but I don’t see the logic to the statement above. If a composer died 75 years ago, that’s all that matters. In what way is how old he was when he died, or when he composed the piece relevant ? Merely asking for clarification.

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Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

Well I suppose the practical matter isn’t the technical legalities but whether or not YouTube allows it.

Evidently they don’t.

Does YouTube have tune recognition software, or are they going by the title? If it’s just the title you could call it "Scottish pipe march" or something.

Now, I do believe YouTube is headquartered in the USA and if they follow USA law anything published before 1928 in PD. Obviously Farewell To Nigg doesn’t qualify.

As an aside, there was a mail-order Highland piping supply firm here in the USA who included the sheet music to Farewell To Nigg with every order! I had a pile of the things, I used them for scrap paper.

As a result I viewed that tune as annoying. However a few years ago the Pipe Band I played in decided to use that tune as our march-in for competition. I wrote a harmony part, and the tune was very effective for us.

Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

I think it’s all down to "algorithms", Richard, - [ or "leprachauns", as they call them in Ireland 🙂 ].
In any case, I doubt very much that there is any human involvement in the initial recognition stages. Happens automatically until an actual human being calls them out on it. I have no doubt whatsoever that someone, somewhere is making a lot of money out of spurious copyright claims on "Youtube".

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Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

> If a composer died 75 years ago, that’s all that matters.

Yes, but - I see a lot of people saying things like "this tune was recorded in the 1930s" or "this tune was published in 1907", and assume the passage of time renders the tune safe.

The chances are it is, but I just want to make the point that if you’re in a position where you’ve having to prove that a tune is street legal, then you really must do the legwork carefully. Pointing to it in O’Neill’s isn’t enough.

It’s something I come up against a lot because I do a fair bit of TV and commercial work and they inevitably want me to play music that is unencumbered by any legal issues.

>someone, somewhere is making a lot of money out of spurious copyright claims on "Youtube".

That I definitely agree with!

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Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

I think it’s always worth keeping in mind that there are two copyrights that can apply to music: one to the recording, the other to the composition.

In the UK, the length of copyright for the recording is now 70 years after first release. Prior to 2013 it was 50 years after first release.

The length of copyright for composition, again in the UK, is 70 years after the death of the last surviving composer or author.

On the database of the Performing Rights Society (PRS) ‘Farewell To Nigg’ appears twice, both include Duncan Johnstone as writer. There appear to be two separate entries with two separate Publishers, but there are several possible explanations for that.

From what you describe and what’s written above, the claim appears to be a legitimate claim on your use of Duncan Johnstone’s composition only, and that should not hinder you in any way. You might not be able to monetise the compositional aspect of your video, but the writer’s estate should be able to, and that would seem fair to me. However, even if they are able to do this, the amount will be minuscule.

On a slight tangent, it seems to me that at least since the days of Napster, Copyright has often been portrayed in a negative light, something that has a ‘chilling’ effect on ‘artistic freedom’ and is no longer appropriate in our ‘internet age’. Personally I think that is very far from the truth, but it has been amplified because it suits the tech companies. The very same companies who so vigorously protect their own copyrights.

Again, speaking personally and only as far as I can see, I really don’t think "someone, somewhere is making a lot of money out of spurious copyright claims on YouTube", but I do very strongly believe that YouTube is making a lot of money out of YouTube!

Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

I have had copyright warnings thrown up on a couple of my postings to YouTube, but as I am strictly amateur and not seeking to monetise my videos, I am not too worried. Also, there are literally dozens of other versions of the same tunes on YouTube: I can’t see them pursuing everyone who posts that same tune. For one of them, the composer, who is still alive, has said on this forum, that he is very happy for people to play his tunes in an amateur setting, but gave details of the publisher to contact if wishing to make a professional recording.

I don’t know if they still do it, but at one time, there was a list of tunes you COULD use to make the backing for any non-music videos. I removed the soundtrack to one of mine, after receiving a copyright warning, and replaced it with one of these "approved tracks" - and immediately got another copyright warning - DOH! I left it on, and nothing happened….yet….and that was about 6 or 7 years ago.

Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

"From what you describe and what’s written above, the claim appears to be a legitimate claim on your use of Duncan Johnstone’s composition only, and that should not hinder you in any way. You might not be able to monetise the compositional aspect of your video, but the writer’s estate should be able to, and that would seem fair to me. However, even if they are able to do this, the amount will be minuscule."


Of course. I don’t have interest or expectations of monetizing my videos. However, I’ve previously had other copyright claims of tunes written around 200 years ago. I’m more than happy for someone who has the right to make money of the music to do so, I just wanna play the tune. However, I absolutely refuse to accept a copyright claim for a tune that is a couple of hundred years old, or older. I wasn’t sure about Farewell to Nigg, that’s why I asked.

Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

it was written for a competition- as my memory serves me. Written for the launch of an oil rig (clearly from Nigg bay).

Duncan Johnstone’s son-in-law Ian Campbell played box with my father when I was growing up (before he sadly passed away too soon). I loved playing it when I was younger - and before I had temporarily given up whistle (by about a decade).

David - you need to stop breaking the law 😛

Re: Is Farewell to Nigg copyrighted?

Glad to know I can always count on your support there 🙂