Thank you all for your very helpful advice, it's much appreciated.
I perhaps should have made it clear that this isn't a proper movie, more of
a compilation of 1940s footage, and predominantly for use in schools or
suchlike - it will used by a charity and generate no revenue that I can
It seems somewhat absurd that the recordings are public domain in the UK
and Europe, but not in America. Out of interest, is it only America where
they aren't public domain, or would it vary from country to country?
David, I hope you'll forgive my ignorance - this is really an area I know
very little about, but to clarify - do I have to clear the
composition through a performance rights agency because although the
performance in question is public domain, the composition itself is not?
On 26 June 2012 15:35, David Lewis <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Jubilee Stomp is a Duke Ellington composition, and it is still copyrighted
> -- along with the rest of the catalog -- by Mills Music Inc., which has an
> office in the UK. The Duke recorded this piece for four different labels.
> The Vocalion version belongs to Universal, and the Victor and Okeh versions
> by Sony/BMG in the US. The Cameo/Pathé version is in a grey area; that is
> part of the ARC legacy that passed to CBS in 1938 but some of that property
> was traded to Decca as part of their purchase of Brunswick; no one really
> knows what went where in that case in terms of masters, or even what from
> Cameo/Pathé may still survive in the master space, or survived even in
> 1938. Probably nothing; even in the 1960s, Columbia was using commercial
> 78s as their source for material from that label in reissues. Most
> clearances from that time regarding that label, however, were made through
> In the UK, all of this is moot, as for the time being these are all well
> behind the copyright curve. But you'd still need to clear the composition
> through a performance rights agency.
> David "Uncle Dave" Lewis
> Lebanon, OH
> On Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 9:49 AM, Wolf, James L <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Sarah,
> > Tiger Rag is a 1917 composition and thus in the Public Domain. The
> > 1929 Brunswick recording by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra is owned by
> > Universal. Barring any further extentions of copyright terms, it will
> > the Public Domain in 2067. However, in Europe, U.K. and Canada, this
> > recording is already PD.
> > James
> > All opinions are personal and do not reflect Library of Congress policy
> > position.
> > -----Original Message-----
> > 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?
> > Hi all,
> > 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
> > 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
> > recorded around (I believe) 1928. My understanding was that music
> > after 1923 was almost certainly copyrighted in the US. Does the fact that
> > these recordings are made from 78rpm records affect their status? And
> > 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.
> > Many thanks,
> > Sarah