Copyrighted creative works, whether they’re books, movies, or music, enter the public domain in the United States after 95 years, meaning they’re free for use by the American public. Winnie The Pooh was first published in 1924, becomes that old and is yours to use or modify! I admit it will be tough to see the pornagraphic uses of Winnie.
What will “Poo Bear” do?
I owe my understanding of recorded music to record collectors. In today’s world, these collections need to be digitized (analog to digital) and posted somewhere. Like this one on YouTube.com. Jazz roots have been recorded, and are now in the public domain starting with the early recordings in the beginning of the 20th century. It was called Jazz when it got to Chicago at the turn of the century.
Perform them! That way it’s yours! Just because the song listed below was in the public domain doesn’t mean you can use a version done by someone else. Here are the songs I found written before 1924, or donated to the public domain. So you can use these songs w/o owing anyone or getting a license to use in your social post, IF you perform them yourself.
Holiday songs that ARE in the Public Domain.
With these songs, you will not need a mechanical license.
- Angels We Have Heard On High
- Auld Lang Syne
- Away In A Manger
- Coventry Carol
- Deck The Halls
- For Unto Us
- Go Tell It On The Mountain
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
- Good King Wenceslas
- Hallelujah Chorus
- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
- Here We Come A-Caroling (Wassail Song)
- I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
- I Saw Three Ships
- In The Bleak Midwinter
- It Came Upon The Midnight Clear
- Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
- Jingle Bells
- Jolly Old St. Nicholas
- Joy To The World
- O Come All Ye Faithful
- O Come O Come Emmanuel
- O Holy Night
- O Little Town Of Bethlehem
- Once In Royal David’s City
- Silent Night
- The First Noel
- The Twelve Days of Christmas
- Up On The Housetop
- We Three Kings
- We Wish You A Merry Christmas
- What Child Is This
But the performance by someone done recently would require permission to use in a video or any other use of that performance. So you will be liable if you post a performance of a public domain song composed after 1924. Although Silent Night was written before 1924 , this is a perfect example of a song performance of a public domain song not being “royality-free” Youtube must pay who ever has the rights for this performance by The Temptations. I suggest using your own version of one of these songs to avoid any copyright hassles.
This 1924 recording of this top-selling “Hillbilly-marketed” song became public domain in January. Recorded by Country Hall of Fame Honoree, Vernon Dahlhart, who was born Marion Try Slaughter, for Victor Records, this recording became one of the biggest selling singles of the 1920s. Written by Vernon but copyrighted in the name of his cousin, Guy Massey, it has been re-recorded by many famous artists such as Hank Snow and Bill Monroe. This single “The Prisoner’s Song” was #1 on the charts for over 12 weeks and sold over 9 million copies.
1924 and Jazz’s early recorded history are now converging. This Jazz classic, Gertrude “Ma” Rainey’s See See Rider Blues, was written and performed in 1924. It also features Louis Armstrong on trumpet. The best part is it’s yours, Or should I say ours?
I want to be first in 2020 to share some music that arrived in the public domain. Can you believe George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” is ours to use!?
The composition was commissioned by bandleader Paul Whiteman. It was orchestrated by Ferde Grofé. It was considered modern in 1924. I selected a performance done in 2011. It still sounds modern whenever it’s performed.
Impeachment is on everyone’s mind as well it should be.
There are two important documents in the public domain.
Here are links to both:
In 1972 The Honeydrippers recorded “Impeach The President.” Seems Tyrone Brown brought this song to the present with some contemporary graphics. This song makes the past the present.
So far this year there has been much written and published about the Public Domain. The concept of copyright expiration for the good of mankind has been around since the advent of copyright protection. This might be an old concept, but it has only come to being this year in the U.S. There have been many articles. This is a good one, about why and what comes into public ownership this year, so the public can use or enjoy the content without copyright restrictions. I try to make some of this music known. I’ve become interested in the roots of rock and roll, the Delta Blues. Son House, born in 1902. He was in his 20s when his songs were recorded by Alan Lomax.
Son House was discovered and promoted as a young man by reigning Delta Blues king, Charley Patton. House’s style would greatly influence Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, and later Bonnie Raitt, John Hammond, Jr. and The White Stripes. Released in 1930, the 78 RPM vinyl of “Clarksdale Moan” was long considered a “Holy Grail” of lost blues recordings. Here’s an mp3 from an original copy found by an ecstatic collector in the 1990’s. An absolute treasure.
I first heard a Theremin used in rock music by Rev. Paul Jackson of The Uptones. The instrument was easy to record, but you looked lame playing it. Not much later I saw Aron Mardo not looking lame using this all electronic instrument in an inspired performance with his brother in their band Mardo. I fell in love with the unlimited possibilities of this electronic instrument. As I looked further, into this instrument’s roots, I also found some Public Domain music using all electronic music instruments. As you guessed, it wasn’t made before 1925, it was made in 1960 in a no-copyright-law USSR! This video features Russian Thereminist Konstantin Kovalsky, performing with Vyacheslav Mescherin’s ensemble of electro-musical instruments. I find this a mind-boggling display of electronic instruments. Konstantin makes the theremin sound almost human in his solo. I found this video fascinating.
Everybody listen to this man, listen to the depth of sorrow in that harmonica. A real blues player cannot cheat the feeling of grief on any topic. It comes from within. Bad water wasn’t a modern problem. When the river runs dry on land and in the heart, the music must replenish the soul for hope to be replenished. I’m proud to link to this song by Jaybird Coleman.