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How can I find out if it's public domain?

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  • How can I find out if it's public domain?

    The U.S. Copyright Office charges an hourly rate for telling you whether songs are protected by a copyright, and I can't find a very comprehensive list of music in the public domain. Likewise, Youtube has a list of copyrighted songs, but it seems to only include "popular" music, whatever that means. And it's hard t access.

    So how else I can I figure out if songs written, say, in the first half of the twentieth century can be recorded without permission - blues, jazz, and bluegrass tunes, for instance?

    I know I could send the Copyright Office a list and pay for an answer, but I wonder if there's a fast, free way to figure out copyright status, instead.

    Last edited by Delmont; 02-10-2018, 04:45 PM.
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  • #2
    at this point, any song copyrighted in 1922 or before is public domain here in the USA.

    There are exceptions, like Creative Commons releases.

    one possible source where you can check [I've never used the service..]:
    "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

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    • #3
      Check with the Harry Fox Agency, which seemingly is the agency for dang near every freaking copyrighted ong in existence, here:

      If the song is in there, it's copyrighted. And frankly odds are near 100% that it was if it was on the charts at all.