Tiger Rag is a 1917 composition and thus in the Public Domain. The early 1929 Brunswick recording by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra is owned by Universal. Barring any further extentions of copyright terms, it will enter the Public Domain in 2067. However, in Europe, U.K. and Canada, this recording is already PD.
All opinions are personal and do not reflect Library of Congress policy or position.
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Sarah Cole
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 9:07 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Recordings of 1920s 78rpm Records - Public Domain?
I was hoping someone here might be able to help me with a query relating to the copyright status of digital recordings taken from 1920s 78rpm records, with particular reference to Duke Ellington's early sound recordings.
I have downloaded some 1920s pieces of his for a project I am working on; I'd like to use these songs as the soundtrack to a film aimed at educating children about life in the 1940s, which would likely end up publicly-viewable online but not make any money. All of the pieces I have chosen are listed as public domain on the Internet Archive or elsewhere.
These entries, for example, are two of the pieces I would like to use:
http://archive.org/details/DukeEllington-TigerRag and http://funfunfunmedia.com/2010/12/duke-ellington-jubilee-stomp-mp3.
My problem is this: these websites say that these recordings are public domain, but I am struggling to see how they could be, given that they were recorded around (I believe) 1928. My understanding was that music recorded after 1923 was almost certainly copyrighted in the US. Does the fact that these recordings are made from 78rpm records affect their status? And does my being UK-based make any difference?
I would very grateful indeed if anyone could offer any advice on this matter, as I've been looking everywhere for an answer with no luck.