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Taking Care of Business
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Old July 29th, 2003, 11:47 AM   #1
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Old Songs and New Singers

There are a lot of songs out there that we all know very well, that are technically 'unpublished' and not owned by anyone. For this reason, they seem to be covered and re-covered by dozens of recording artists over time. The best example of this is in jazz and blues. So many standards are redone and sold on current artists' albums.

So does anyone know, on the business end of this,

1) Where does one look to see what songs are out there that can be basically re-recorded by an artist? Are there any site resources that perhaps deal with this topic?

2) Are there any laws forbidding you from incorporating such songs into a film project? For example, can you just get a performer to sing an old standard that has no 'owner' and use it in your film's soundtrack with no legal repercussions?

I know there are many possibilities here, but if you've dealt with such a topic before, I'd love to hear from you. A close friend is an amazing vocalist who could pull off almost any song, and I'd love to use some of her interpretations of old songs in my projects.
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Old July 30th, 2003, 04:00 PM   #2
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Old August 6th, 2003, 08:52 PM   #3
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Contact the Harry Fox Agency to establish if the work might be copyrighted. Do a search here, or Google and you'll find their contact information.
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Old August 29th, 2003, 12:58 PM   #4
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Although it seems as if it is a golden opportunity, all of those songs you are hearing are most likely copywritten and the artist singing them are paying mechanical royalties. Check with the major musician associations (Ascap, BMG and most importantly the Harry Fox Agency). And beware THERE ARE MOST DEFINITELY LAWS RESTICTING THIER USE! People don't realize it, but it's really inexpensive and quite easy to get a liscence to use the music through the Harry Fox Agency's web site.
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