[Dixielandjazz] Re: CD royalty question...

Bill Haesler bhaesler at bigpond.net.au
Sat Jun 10 15:06:49 PDT 2006

> Which tunes are public domain and which aren't? (Let me rephrase...) Are
there trad jazz tunes we can record and not pay royalties to the ASCAP/BMI

Dear Dave,
The Public Domain issue is covered by the Public Domain Music web site:
Or access it via Google.
As you will note, the cut-off date is the end of 1922, but there are
   "Music and lyrics written by an American author and published in 1922 or
earlier are in the Public Domain in the United States. No one can claim
ownership of a song in the public domain, therefore public domain songs may
be used by everyone. PD songs may be used for profit-making without paying
any royalties." 
If in doubt the site has an alphabetical list of tunes and a 'title search'
Another good source is the Charles Anderson Fake Book Index.
Or access it via Google.
Not a complete listing of every song/tune, nor infallible, but it does cover
most of the material (with composition dates) played by OKOM bands.
You can check the title and date and eliminate those  from 1923 on.
Another way would be, using the name of the intended song/tune, to consult
the excellent and invaluable 'The Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and
Jazz 1900-1950' by Roger D Kinkle (1974. Arlington House). If you can locate
a copy.
It comprises 4 volumes, but Vol 1 'Music Year by Year' and Vol 4 'Index and
Appendices' will provide a great many of the dates you need.
Or email me the tune/song titles and I should be able to date most of them
for you. 
There! I've given away a few of our trade secrets.
Kind regards,

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