General Question

AshlynM's avatar

Copyright questions concerning classical musicians from over a hundred years ago?

Asked by AshlynM (6475 points ) April 22nd, 2012

Like Beethoven, Mozart, and Liszt?

Are we free to play their songs any time we’d like, since they’ve been deceased for a long time now or do their copyrighted works still apply like every other musician? Is copyright for life, even after death?

How are these musicians’ works protected and who protects them today?

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5 Answers

digitalimpression's avatar

This was an interesting article.

Copyright law is a mess.. but you have to concern yourself with not only the song, but lyrics (if any), performer, etc as well.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Copyright is life + 70 years. Since all these composers have been dead for over 70 years, their music is in the public domain. However, any edited versions of their music, as well as any recordings, start copyright all over again.

ro_in_motion's avatar

There is no reason to fear. Play them all you want in public or private. Current copyright laws suck but it doesn’t apply to them.

Nullo's avatar

AFAIK the actual music is public domain, but the performances themselves may be copyrighted.

cwilbur's avatar

Editions may also be under copyright. This is why Dover editions (for instance) are facsimiles of works that are out of copyright and in which no copyright is claimed. If I produced an edition of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, however, the work I did in editing them would be protected under copyright.

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