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:
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.