Hello... I am a wind player (clarinet, sax, flute) looking to make some much needed (and neglected) arrangements of LDS Hymns for Flute and Clarinet. Being new to the game and not really understanding copyright problems I might encounter, I thought perhaps one of you might point me in the right direction!
As I understand, any music published prior to 1928 is fair game (talking music not recordings)? Is there a pdf of the 1927 LDS hymn book available? Does the fact that the church did not renew it's 1927 copyright mean that I can base arrangements on these hymns without fear of infringing on copyrighted material?
>I'm no expert but it sounds fair enough to me - especially if you're doing
>some rearranging there.
>I've only just found HymnWiki too - I've been using Lilypond to rearrange
>old hymns and was making a collection of them - but why reinvent the wheel
>when there's such a great start here.
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Wow. I can't believe I missed all these posts. I really thought I checked this forum sooner than that. I wasn't alerted of your posts as far as I can remember.
Anyway, anything published before 1923 is public domain. However, the 1927 LDS hymnal (if we're talking about the same one) is public domain because they didn't renew their copyright. What publication are you talking about? Was that it? I only know that it wasn't renewed because I got some inside information. It's usually really hard to find out if a copyright has been renewed. So, you can't reliably (under normal circumstances) know that things published after 1922 are public domain unless certain things are true, such as if it's a first edition of the book and it doesn't contain a copyright notice (a second edition without the notice still may be copyrighted), but you can't use this rule for things published within the last few decades, since the laws are different. However, if you can ask someone who knows (like I had someone do for me), that's a great start.
There are databases that tell you books that have had copyrights renewed, but I don't think they're comprehensive. You can sometimes find that copyrights *have* been renewed there, but I don't know that you can prove beyond doubt they haven't been by that method. They can, however, give you more reason to believe that they might not have been renewed. I think a certain amount of research might hold legal weight, however, as Project Gutenberg often lists texts that say something like, Extensive research has not revealed that the copyright has been renewed, and then they treat it as if it were public domain. I don't think they would do that if they could get sued over it (although I'm pretty sure they'd take it down if they were proved wrong). However, I have no idea what they do for their research. So, I'd ask them, if I were you. It might really be rather extensive, and not just a few hours of Googling.
I don't think there's a scanned copy of the LDS 1927 hymnal available, yet. No one knew it was public domain (to my knowledge) until I asked about it. So, they probably didn't know it was safe to digitize.
I do, however, have a physical copy, and I would like to get it digitized. I think I got it on eBay. If you have a certain hymn you want, I can probably scan it for you, or even re-engrave the sheet music for you.
Oh, and yes, because they didn't renew the 1927 copyright, you are free to make arrangements of the hymns in there, and use them. You can even sell and redistribute your arrangements, since it's public domain.
However, I strongly discourage looking at the list of hymns and then assuming you can transcribe the same hymns directly from the 1985 hymnal. They do make editorial changes, sometimes, and sometimes the parts are different and stuff like that. Those changes may or may not be copyrightable. To play it safe, I recommend transcribing directly from the public domain hymnal.
I do not know if the hymns in the 1927 hymnal that have their own copyright notices (if there are any) are public domain. The lack of a copyright renewal on the book probably doesn't apply to those. However, they may or may not have been renewed individually. So, if I make a scanned copy, I may have to omit those to be on the safe side.