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Cover Song Rules?


Nick*

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Ok, from the rules I understand that we are not able to post cover songs (even though I don't know how that would be legal anyway).

 

But I was thinking.....if songs are like 75, 80...or whatever many years old, they eventually become public domain and usable, correct?

 

Does anyone know how many years it takes exactly? And if so, are be allowed to cover those types of "old" songs and post them here?

 

 

Thanks

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Hi, Nick I'll let someone who is more on top of the current international and US copyright law answer on particulars. But as mod here in the SW forum, I'm qualified to answer the second part... ;) The purpose of the songwriting forum is for the discussion of and feedback on songwriting -- not performance, recording, production, and so on. Nor is it for promo activities. So, as much fun as it can be cover old songs, it's best for you to try to get feedback on them in some other forum. :)

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Basically music published in 1922 or earlier are in the Public Domain in the United States (varies in different Countries). I think there are several websites to check to see if a song is Public Domain or not.

 

I did new versions of Public Domain Xmas songs and checked them out on one of those sites. Can't remember which one though.

 

Best, John :cool:

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In simple terms, under the PRESENT LAW, the length of a copyright is now 95 years after the death of the copyright holder.

 

In Europe, music is public domain after 50 years. The US government is pushing to get them to match our stupid duration.

 

I have so many copyrights that I have not counted them in years, but, I still think our duration is totally whacked. If you want more info, read Larry Lessig's book, "The Future of Ideas."

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Angelo, the length was increased again not too long ago... you might want to check.

 

From Copyright Office website...

 

Under the law in effect before 1978, copyright was secured either on the date a work was published with a copyright notice or on the date of registration if the work was registered in unpublished form. In either case, the copyright endured for a first term of 28 years from the date it was secured. During the last (28th) year of the first term, the copyright was eligible for renewal. The Copyright Act of 1976 extended the renewal term from 28 to 47 years for copyrights that were subsisting on January 1, 1978, or for pre-1978 copyrights restored under the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), making these works eligible for a total term of protection of 75 years. Public Law 105-298, enacted on October 27, 1998, further extended the renewal term of copyrights still subsisting on that date by an additional 20 years, providing for a renewal term of 67 years and a total term of protection of 95 years.

 

Public Law 102-307 makes renewal registration optional. Thus, filing for renewal registration is no longer required to extend the original 28-year copyright term to the full 95 years. However, some benefits accrue to renewal registrations that were made during the 28th year.

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Thanks guys.

 

I also have 1 more question. I have recently posted some of my music on soundclick.com and I've noticed that they have a cover song section. Did all of those people who have posted those cover songs get permission to post those? I can't understand how people would be able to get the right to cover those songs.

 

Thanks

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A lot of people post cover songs at Soundclick where they don't have permission/rights/license. I'm not sure if Soundclick ever checks but they do make it a requirement in their terms of service, even if people ignore it.

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Actually, soundclick must be aware of it because under every genre there is a sub-genre called "Cover Songs." Maybe if no one profits off of the song, then it would be legal to cover?

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On Cover Songs...

 

Cover songs are usually not a big deal for two reasons.

 

1. The song is not being used commercially if it is simply posted online by a duffer, so to speak.

 

2. The Copyright "SR" is for "sound recording" and applies to the recording and lyrics, but, the level of protection is limited to the actual recording. Licensing is an industry agreement that pays a royalty for "mechanicals" (CDs pressed for commercial sale). The "PA" copyright covers "Performance" art and properly applies to sheet-music, arrangements, etc...

 

Clubs license music for entertainment through ASCAP, BMI, and other organizations that monitor performance royalties. The use of music entertainment in clubs includes juke boxes, live performance, recordings, even radio broadcasts. Same holds true for Internet Radio. They are supposed to pay performance royalties, too. Many have not.

 

I hope this answers your questions.

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Actually, soundclick must be aware of it because under every genre there is a sub-genre called "Cover Songs." Maybe if no one profits off of the song, then it would be legal to cover?

 

 

Soundclick profits off of your cover song, though, so they insist that you get permission to post cover songs. It's in the form you "I accept" before posting. I don't know how strictly it's enforced or whatever, though.

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