Summertime - Copyright

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Summertime - Copyright

Post by OneWorld »

Seeing as Gershwin wrote Summertime in 1934, and AFAIK copyright last for 70 years after the composer's death? am I right in thinking Summertime is out of copyright?

Hold that question, I might have got my answer, I have found the following......

"Q. Is George Gershwin's song "Summertime" in the public domain in the U.S.?

A. No "Summertime" is not in the public domain in the U.S.

The music for "Summertime" was composed in 1935 by George Gershwin for the opera Porgy and Bess. The lyrics were written by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel on which the opera was based, and co-written by Ira Gershwin.

The copyright for Porgy and Bess was registered under the Copyright Act of 1909 for an initial term of 28 years. The copyright was renewed for an additional 28 years, expiring in 1991. It was extended for another 19 years by the Copyright Act of 1976, and slated to expire in 2010. However, Porgy and Bess was still under copyright protection in 1998 when the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act was passed, and was granted an additional 20 years, for a total of 95 years.

Barring a change in the U.S. Copyright Law, “Summertime” will not enter the public domain in the U.S. until 2030.

These conditions and expiration dates apply in the U.S. only and do not reflect those of other countries. "

However, it does say this only aplies to USA?
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Re: Summertime - Copyright

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Yep, copyright law is national not international. There does tend to be a fair bit of alignment as IP law is often bundled in with trade agreements so you get a ratcheting effect going on where nation A is life +50 years, but they sign a trade deal with nation B who has life +75 years. So 'in order to meet our international obligations' nation A extends their copyright to life +75.
UK is currently life +70 for composition and registration +70 for recordings.
(though I think it's broadcast date +50 for broadcast materials?)
Further complications arise in that some territories term extensions were made retrospective but some weren't, so somethings are public domain in some countries but not in others, and some things have been protected, unprotected, and are now back in protection again.
Literature has more fun and games as things like Sherlock Holmes (the character) is public domain but not all the stories are. Similarly, Winnie the Pooh is public domain, but the version of him in a little red waistcoat is still in copyright.

There is currently some talk of the EU moving to Life +95 years, which will doubtless be immediately followed by the UK and US.
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Re: Summertime - Copyright

Post by OneWorld »

blinddrew wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 6:34 pm Yep, copyright law is national not international.
There is currently some talk of the EU moving to Life +95 years, which will doubtless be immediately followed by the UK and US.


That makes sense, seeing as people are living longer, means the composer's offspring can cash in
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Re: Summertime - Copyright

Post by Drew Stephenson »

OneWorld wrote: Mon Feb 06, 2023 11:48 am
blinddrew wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 6:34 pm Yep, copyright law is national not international.
There is currently some talk of the EU moving to Life +95 years, which will doubtless be immediately followed by the UK and US.


That makes sense, seeing as people are living longer, means the composer's offspring can cash in

Makes sense from that perspective I guess, but not from the original purpose of copyright.
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Re: Summertime - Copyright

Post by Sam Spoons »

OneWorld wrote: Mon Feb 06, 2023 11:48 am
blinddrew wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 6:34 pm Yep, copyright law is national not international.
There is currently some talk of the EU moving to Life +95 years, which will doubtless be immediately followed by the UK and US.


That makes sense, seeing as people are living longer, means the composer's offspring can cash in

I wonder how they'll access it's value for IHT :D
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Re: Summertime - Copyright

Post by BWC »

OneWorld wrote: Mon Feb 06, 2023 11:48 am
blinddrew wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 6:34 pm Yep, copyright law is national not international.
There is currently some talk of the EU moving to Life +95 years, which will doubtless be immediately followed by the UK and US.


That makes sense, seeing as people are living longer, means the composer's offspring can cash in

Really?!? That makes sense to you? That's exactly the sort of greed that copyright was supposed to protect the public from.

blinddrew wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 6:34 pm Makes sense from that perspective I guess, but not from the original purpose of copyright.

Shocking how far from that purpose we've strayed.
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Re: Summertime - Copyright

Post by OneWorld »

BWC wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 5:07 am
OneWorld wrote: Mon Feb 06, 2023 11:48 am
blinddrew wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 6:34 pm Yep, copyright law is national not international.
There is currently some talk of the EU moving to Life +95 years, which will doubtless be immediately followed by the UK and US.


That makes sense, seeing as people are living longer, means the composer's offspring can cash in

Really?!? That makes sense to you? That's exactly the sort of greed that copyright was supposed to protect the public from.

blinddrew wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 6:34 pm Makes sense from that perspective I guess, but not from the original purpose of copyright.

Shocking how far from that purpose we've strayed.

Really?!? That makes sense to you? That's exactly the sort of greed that copyright was supposed to protect the public from.

So, the composer, with a wish to bequeath the fruits of his/her labours to his partner, offspring, siblings is greed? How do you work that out? How does that protect the public?
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Re: Summertime - Copyright

Post by Drew Stephenson »

The purpose of copyright is to encourage the creation of new works.
The mechanism chosen is a limited-term monopoly. This is a restriction on the rights of the public with the pay-off being that more works are created that subsequently enter the public domain.
The longer copyright terms endure the less incentive there is to create (anything post the life of the creator is plainly nonsense in this context, dead people are not that creative), and it also keeps things out of the public domain longer.
Both of which serve to undermine the public respect of copyright law.
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Re: Summertime - Copyright

Post by merlyn »

OneWorld wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 8:47 pm ... So, the composer, with a wish to bequeath the fruits of his/her labours to his partner, offspring, siblings is greed? How do you work that out? How does that protect the public?

After ninety-five years, the composer's partner isn't going to be around either. Leaving that aside it often isn't the composer who holds the rights -- it's a publishing company, and the composer has a publishing deal with the record label.

Copyright benefits record companies. You may remember that Michael Jackson bought Northern Songs, The Beatles' publishing company, outbidding Paul McCartney, who you would think should own Northern Songs. It doesn't work like that.
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Re: Summertime - Copyright

Post by OneWorld »

merlyn wrote: Wed Feb 08, 2023 3:25 pm
OneWorld wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 8:47 pm ... So, the composer, with a wish to bequeath the fruits of his/her labours to his partner, offspring, siblings is greed? How do you work that out? How does that protect the public?

After ninety-five years, the composer's partner isn't going to be around either. Leaving that aside it often isn't the composer who holds the rights -- it's a publishing company, and the composer has a publishing deal with the record label.

Copyright benefits record companies. You may remember that Michael Jackson bought Northern Songs, The Beatles' publishing company, outbidding Paul McCartney, who you would think should own Northern Songs. It doesn't work like that.

Please read "... So, the composer, with a wish to bequeath the fruits of his/her labours to his partner, OFFSPRING, siblings is greed? How do you work that out? How does that protect the public?"

Frankly I don't give a hoot over who owns Northern Songs, if the Beatles wanted to keep them then they shouldn't have sold them, and fat lot of good they did Michael Jackson. The way I see it, if someone creates something, it's theirs unless they want to dispose of it, in the way they choose. Simple.
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Re: Summertime - Copyright

Post by merlyn »

OneWorld wrote: Wed Feb 08, 2023 5:04 pm ... Please read "... So, the composer, with a wish to bequeath the fruits of his/her labours to his partner, OFFSPRING, siblings is greed? How do you work that out? How does that protect the public?"

Please add 95 onto say 60, possibly a median age for a child when their parent dies.
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Re: Summertime - Copyright

Post by OneWorld »

merlyn wrote: Wed Feb 08, 2023 5:06 pm
OneWorld wrote: Wed Feb 08, 2023 5:04 pm ... Please read "... So, the composer, with a wish to bequeath the fruits of his/her labours to his partner, OFFSPRING, siblings is greed? How do you work that out? How does that protect the public?"

Please add 95 onto say 60, possibly a median age for a child when their parent dies.

Yeah, am full of tricks like that - NOT, do your own arithmetic and factor in the fact that living into ones 90's is not such a rare thing these days. And what I am saying is copyright passes to the offspring on the death of the composer, no matter what age they are.

BTW - it's not 95 yet
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