Originally posted August 23, 2015
Folks working with traditional music often run into fake copyright notices on the sheet music they buy. One particular publisher often gets credit and even publishing royalties for recordings of songs that were written long before that company existed, only because they affixed a copyright notice to their sheet music without bothering to note that the only thing they “owned” was the typesetting.
On the other extreme some legitimate composers have been “stiffed” by people who assumed that well-known songs are – or should be – in the public domain. Even stranger, songs that were in the public domain can fall under copyright under certain conditions.
To protect the vast resource that is our musical heritage, it behooves every musician to know the difference and to treat all the materials we use appropriately. All that is a very long introduction to a plug for one of our articles which is only a few months old, but has already gotten a great deal of interest.