Getting started/PD

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New Users
New to the Traditional Tune Archive?.

Adding tunes
The Tune input form

Tune book
The Tune input form

Recorded sources
The Tune input form

Tune Annotations
Anecdotes, provenance, examples of associated lyrics and miscellaneous information regarding a melody.

Typesetting Guidelines
A minimum set of quality guidelines for newly typeset works

Public domain material
Public Domain made simple

Theme Code Index
An alternative Search method


'Public Domain' means a work is no longer protected by copyright and can be freely distributed.
For a work to be allowed on TTA, it must be in the public domain in either Canada the US and the EU. Therefore, it is extremely important that all TTA contributors understand the concepts outlined here.

Copyright by Major Area

Canada (also China, Japan, South Korea)

  • A work is in the public domain if the last surviving author/editor/librettist has been dead for over 50 years.
    • Example: Any work by Sergey|Prokofiev is in the public domain in Canada, since he died in 1953.
  • In Canada only, a work first published after the death of the last surviving author/editor/librettist may be copyrighted for up to 50 years after the date of first publication.

United States

  • Any work first published before 1924 is in the public domain.
    • Example: Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No.1, Op.10 is public domain in the US, since it was published in 1912.
  • Any work first published from 1924 to 1977 is subject to a 95-year term of copyright.
  • Any work first published 1978 and later is subject to a term of life of the last surviving author plus 70 years.

European Union

  • A work is in the public domain if the last surviving author/editor/librettist has been dead for over 70 years.
    • Example: Any work by Maurice Ravel is public domain in the EU, since he died in 1937.
      • However, in France, protection of musical works enjoys special time extension compensating for the war period (WWI and WWII). For composers who died before January 1, 1995, the time protection after death is 78 years and 120 days for works published between January 1, 1921 and December 31, 1947 and 84 years and 272 days for works published until December 31, 1920. This is why none of Ravel’s work is public domain in France while it is so in many European countries.
  • A work first published after the death of the last surviving author/editor/librettist is subject to copyright protection of at least 25 years after first publication.

Urtext Editions

  • In Canada, "Scientific" or "Urtext" editions (where the editor(s) made no significant contributions in an effort to replicate the author's intentions) receive no copyright protection. However,
  • In the EU, Urtext editions get up to 30 years of copyright protection after publication. TTA voluntarily observes this rule for 25 years as a courtesy to publishers.
  • In the US, Urtext editions are theoretically protected like any other work. However, many have come into the public domain due to failure to renew, give proper notice, etc.

Recordings

Sound recording copyrights exist on top of the copyright of the work recorded. If a work of Stravinsky was recorded in 1925, the recording is still under copyright because the underlying work remains under copyright the EU, Canada and (if published after 1923), the USA.

EU

A recording is public domain in the EU 70 years after lawful release.

for recordings first issued November 1, 1963 and later.

Canada

As of 2015, a sound recording is public domain in Canada after the shorter of 70 years from first publication or 100 years from creation (fixation). The 100 year term would apply to recordings created but "kept in the vault" until being published at a later date. This was not retroactive, so recordings from 1964 and earlier are still free.

USA

Recordings made before 1972 may be under copyright in the US until 15 February 2067.