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Old January 28th, 2011, 07:13 PM   #1
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Music legality - Humming an old tune

There is an ooold song (from 1929) called I'm Just a Gigolo. One of my actors is humming this line in my film.
Any idea if I still need a license for it ?
I am not using it as background music - just humming a single tune.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 08:42 PM   #2
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Given it is over 50 years old, there might no longer be an enforcable performance copyright but give APRA a call to make sure.

Last edited by Bob Hart; January 28th, 2011 at 08:42 PM. Reason: error
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Old February 5th, 2011, 10:56 PM   #3
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David Lee Roth did a cover version of this song in the 80's, based on a Louie Prima recording from 1956. I doubt the song is public domain.
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Old February 6th, 2011, 12:10 AM   #4
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According to US copyright law, works published or registered between 1923 and 1978 currently have a maximum copyright duration of 95 years from the date of publication.

"Just a Gigolo" was published in 1931. So you're looking at about a 15 year wait for public domain status.

Anything published before 1923 is in the public domain. A good rule of thumb is to consider anything published after that is still protected by copyright.
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Old February 6th, 2011, 07:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Davis View Post
According to US copyright law, works published or registered between 1923 and 1978 currently have a maximum copyright duration of 95 years from the date of publication.

"Just a Gigolo" was published in 1931. So you're looking at about a 15 year wait for public domain status.

Anything published before 1923 is in the public domain. A good rule of thumb is to consider anything published after that is still protected by copyright.
Do note, though, that the 1923 date is for the copyright on the words and melody. There is no such copyright cutoff date for audio recordings. If one finds an old Edison cylinder recording of someone singing "Suwanee River" that was recorded back at the turn of the 20th Century, there's a good chance the RECORDING itself is still protected by copyright even though the Stephen Foster SONG is definitely in the public domain.
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