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Copy Right Issues And The Posting Of Unique Arrangements

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In Spain, copy right issues are for seventy years. You cannot use music (or text) to get money, but you can use it for teaching, for example


From the Wikipedia article on US copyright law:

Copyright protection generally lasts for 70 years after the death of the author. If the work was a "work for hire", then copyright persists for 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever is shorter. For works created before 1978, the copyright duration rules are complicated. However, works created before 1923 have made their way into the public domain.


It looks like a significant difference from the Spanish law is that the US copyright remains in force not just for 70 years from the creation of a work, but for 70 years after the death of its author. Am I interpreting the Spanish law correctly?


And I believe the bit about "before 1923" reflects the principle that works that were deemed to have entered the public domain under earlier versions of copyright law cannot be retroactively withdrawn from the public domain. That might also be the reason for "before 1978" being "complicated", if there were a series of amendments to the duration criteria at different times.

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Or try getting in touch with Eric through the ICA (International Concertina Association), since they published a short version of his family history in Concertina World magazine a couple of years ago.

I've just amended my earlier post to show that the Matusewitch story in Concertina World was in the September 2015 issue.

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One is the arrangement of "Around the Samovar" by Boris Matusewitch. I fell in love with this piece of music when I first heard Danny's version on Soundcloud via Cnet. I presume it is a traditional Russian tune but do I have an issue with copyright regarding his arrangement? Do his descendants hold some copyright over his arrangements? My connection is I bought my (almost) first concertina, the one I learned to play on, from Boris.

Check out this thread. Concertina.net member ematuse would be Boris' son Eric. I'm pretty sure he would be glad to give you permission.


If you PM Eric, he should get an email saying you've done so. If that fails, I can think of two other possibilities for contact:

  • Maybe our member Randy Stein is in contact with Eric? Randy's a former student of Boris, and it looks like he and Eric don't live too far apart these days.
  • Or try getting in touch with Eric through the ICA (International Concertina Association), since they published "The Matusewitch Family Story" in Concertina World magazine issue #463, September 2015..

Good luck.



Thanks Jim, I've sent Eric a message. I didn't realize he was a member so thanks to you and your vast knowledge of Cnet postings there is "movement at the station". I did think of contacting Randy, will do if I don't hear from Eric.

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I seem to recall that in the UK at least, there was an exemption made a couple of years ago for house concerts, to simplify things for the organisers. At the time it was hailed as something of a breakthrough for the house concert scene.



I think the exemption was for an entertainment licence from the local authority under the Live Music Act, this has now been waived for unamplified music with an audience of not more than 500 people. Copyright licence is an entirely separate matter and in the UK is obtained from PRS for Music. So far as I am aware any event where copyright music is performed in public requires one, and I think this would apply to house concerts as well. I don't see why the same performance to the same audience would be treated differently if it takes place in somebody's house as opposed to the traditional folk club in the back room of a pub. The tariffs are complicated but under the General Purposes tariff it would probably be £10 per event.


If the event were strictly invitation-only it could be argued that it was not a public event, and if all the music performed were non-copyright then PRS has no jurisdiction. However it can be tricky to know whether a piece is traditional or not, especially where tunes are concerned - many session tunes in wide circulation are not traditional but recently composed.


If a singer-songwriter is a member of PRS they have assigned the collection rights to it, so even if they perform only their own material then strictly the venue should have a licence and the performer would claim the royalties from PRS. If a licence hasn't been obtained PRS could nevertheless find out about it through the claims process. The licence fee would then be charged at a higher rate, which under the GP tariff would be £15.


As with everything else surrounding this topic, what licensing regimes apply to house concerts in other countries may be different.

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UK 'Copyright' applies differently depending on what you are using. So for example, all the Alexander Prince recordings on my site are public domain, as are all recordings/films etc released pre 1963. In 2013 there was an EEC directive adopted which increased this copyright duration from 50 to 70 years, so 1963 recordings etc don't become public domain until 2034.


If you perform music you have a different copyright rule. This is that copyright lasts for 70 years after the composer's death. So you are free to perform anything by a composer who died before 1946.


The summary is here.

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Can I again just make the point that so far as live performance is concerned the performer doesn't need to worry too much. It is the venue's responsibility to obtain a licence from the appropriate copyright licensing body (In the UK this is PRS) and royalties are distributed to composers out of these fees. This avoids he necessity for musicians to negotiate permission for every performance, which would be unworkable for musicians and copyright owners alike. So provided the venue has a licence you can perform copyright music* without needing the express permission of the copyright owner.


Again, at risk of labouring the point, this is different from any entertainment licences which may also be needed under your local laws,


Even if you are not a professional or semi-professional musician, I recommend you take a look at the website for the music licensing body in your country which should explain it in more detail. It is really quite complex and different rules apply to different aspects of what you might want to do with music eg performance, recording, arranging etc.


*strictly speaking, the licence only covers music which has been registered with the organisation. Where it's not registered, personally I'll risk it anyway, taking the view that if they haven't registered the composer probably won't be too bothered about pursuing me for royalties. However the venues I play would only generate a trivial royalty, If you were going to play in a large venue you might want to consider seeking permission. This is not legal advice :)


And again, at risk of labouring the point, this is different from any entertainment licences which may also be needed under your local laws,

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Even if you are not a professional or semi-professional musician, I recommend you take a look at the website for the music licensing body in your country which should explain it in more detail.


FWIW, in the United States there is no governmental body/agency that deals in such matters. Whatever licensing is done is done through private agreement or -- occasionally -- battles in civil court. If a composer has paid to become a member of a private licensing organization (ASCAP is the main one), then you deal with that organzation, not with the composer. Or you try to locate the composer if they're not represented by such an organization. But first you have to find out which organization, if any, is representing that particular composer. The governmnet doesn't keep a database where one can look up such information.


One hazard of such a system -- which has become a serious problem on (e.g.) YouTube -- is that individuals having no connection whatever to the composition can threaten to sue you if you don't pay them a licensing fee, and if you refuse, some of them are brazen enough to actually take you to court, with it being up to you to prove that they don't hold the copyright. Even when you can prove that they are attempting fraud, they are rarely if ever prosecuted for the crime.


Then there's the case of Denmark, where I haven't researched the law but have been told by friends involved in such incidents:

  • If you produce fewer than a particular number of a recording, you can distribute/sell it royalty-free. If I remember correctly, that number is 1000, but it may be less. It's clearly meant to allow for demo recordings but not mass sales.
  • The natitonal musicians' union will handle performance tracking and royalties, if you're a member, but...
  • If you're a member, you're bound by their other rules. This means, among other things, that you're bound by their minimum pay scale. You cannot perform free for benefits -- not even your cousin's birthday party -- without getting an explicit exemption from the union bureaucracy.
Edited by JimLucas
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JimLucas, I wrote my answer very short


In Spain copy right issues are for seventy years... after the death. In the ancient law, copy right issues were for eighty years after the death.




In English: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_law_of_Spain

Edited by tamborileru
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