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Old 01-15-2012, 05:03 AM   #1
ajedproduction
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Is all Beethoven music in the public domain?

I'm sure I've seen some Beethoven songs on royalty free websites like incompetech.com

Is there any sure way of knowing which songs are now in the public domain and which aren't? Not just Beethoven. I especially wanna know if Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No.7 is royalty free...anyone know?
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:25 AM   #2
dlevanchuk
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Based on my own experience! I'm not a copyright attorney, and just going off of from what i've read.


The classical music sheets are loyalty free, HOWEVER(!!!!) their performances NOT.

You can hire an orchestra, and record the symphony #7, but you CANT get an mp3 of symphony #7, conducted and recorded by somebody else.
But as always, it depends what you want to do with it.

If its for youtube - noone will care.
If its for festivals/distribution - better have those release forms.

PS. Beethoven doesn't have "songs". More like music, symphonies or composition.. He ain't no Lady Gaga or Justin Beiber

Last edited by dlevanchuk; 01-15-2012 at 05:30 AM.
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:54 AM   #3
directorik
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dlevanchuk is correct.

All of Beethoven's music is free to use - none of his
compositions are under copyright. Almost all the
recordings are under copyright. You may not use the
recordings without permission. You may use any of
his compositions.

Just to be clear: because "noone will care" does not mean
it is okay to use copyrighted material. The use of a recording
is restricted by the owner of the copyright. Even if no one
will see it, the owner of the copyright still has the right to decide
how their work can be used. You may not get in trouble, but
you are still violating the right of the owner.
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:26 PM   #4
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Yeah, it's important to note that regarding copyrights there's a difference between the sheet music - and - the performance.

The sheet music could be public domain - however - the performance is under the performer's copyright protection.


Fortunately, it looks like you can swipe one of these creative commons performances.
http://imslp.org/wiki/Symphony_No.7,...en,_Ludwig_van)
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:02 PM   #5
ajedproduction
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That link doesn't work ;/ but I searched the site and found Symphony No.7's page, there's a section that says "Non commercial recordings" with some links of it being performed by columbia university orchestra, this version sounds great. Near the top of the page under: Arrangements and transcriptions there's another version that sounds much more amateur and was performed with a flute, under copyright it says Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. I'm guessing the second one is free for me to use, but the first one isn't??

Thanks for the advice.

I was under the impression that even performances would be in the public domain as long as it's 70 years after the death of the owner of the recording.
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:31 PM   #6
Alcove Audio
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Just because the recording is "non-commercial" does not give you the right to use it. The school still owns the recording and you will need permission to use it. It may not cost you anything, but you will still need written permission.

There are many royalty free recordings of the classical music, and some of them sound fantastic. You need to read the fine print, however. Quite a few of these "royalty free" recordings have a limit on the number of copies of the final product may be distributed to be royalty free. One company lists the top limit at 10,000, another at only 2,000. After that you will have to pay royalties.
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:36 PM   #7
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If you search, I'm quite sure you can get a MIDI recording of his work, either free or way cheap. If you can't record MIDI sequences yourself, I'd bet dollars to donuts that you can find someone who would do it either free, or way cheap. My two cents -- if you were to go this route, unless you're working with an actual pro, it's best to limit the MIDI instruments to keys and percussives. Pianos can sound great, even with cheap softsynths, and you don't need to be a pro to use them. Stringed instruments and horns really require expensive synths and a pro who knows how to use them.
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:36 AM   #8
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Seconding Cracker's post, a lot of composers learning the art of orchestration and sequencing use classical music as exercises. If you get your hands on the score, you could ask one of the composers in the classifieds section (or even post a "music wanted") to do an arrangement for you. Someone may have even done the 7th (though personally, I know my work is a thousand times better than the last time I did something like that, so you and the composer might want a new arrangement).
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:03 PM   #9
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'I was under the impression that even performances would be in the public domain as long as it's 70 years after the death of the owner of the recording."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyrig..._Extension_Act

Sonny Bono Act, basically made every recording since the invention of recorded music still under copyright until at least 2019. There is not a single recorded piece of music in existence that is public domain that was not released to public domain by the copyright holder.
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:15 PM   #10
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2019 will be a good year for music in film. lol
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreadylocks View Post
2019 will be a good year for music in film. lol
Some of the sponsors of the bill actually proposed "Forever - 1 day" as the extension.
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:28 PM   #12
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That's funny.
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:42 PM   #13
mlesemann
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You can find some young (and very good) performers who will let you use their performance of Beethoven etc for free, in exchange for some good publicity.

We did this but were sure to get a legal release from the performer, and have provided him with a nice write-up on our web site.

My music director actually found the guy on YouTube, and then we followed up with the performer and his manager from there.
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Old 01-22-2012, 06:21 PM   #14
Dreadylocks
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Interesting ruling:

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/201...ight-decision/
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreadylocks View Post
Nice find, D.

Pre-Berne Convention: Copyright protect US works while allowing some foreign works into US public domain (unprotected).
Post-Berne Convention: Copyright protect both US & foreign works in like terms, effectively removing some foreign works from US public domain.

Makes sense.
I'm surprised congress allowed that inequitable discrepancy to begin with.
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