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

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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.



Edited by Delmont

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