Copyright question

Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by halibut, Aug 27, 2008.

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  1. halibut

    halibut Ex-Mod star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 27, 2000
    I want to use some George Gershwin music in a film. But under the copyright extension act, his music is still under copyright in the US, but it APPEARS that in the European Union (where I am), the copyright ran out in 2007

    "Gershwin died intestate, and all his property passed to his mother. He is buried in the Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.[17] The Gershwin estate continues to bring in significant royalties from licensing the copyrights on Gershwin's work. The estate supported the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act because its 1923 cutoff date was shortly before Gershwin had begun to create his most popular works. The copyrights on those works were expired at the end of 2007 in the European Union and will expire between 2019 and 2027 in the United States of America."

    (the wonderfully accurate resource Wikipedia)

    So 2 questions.

    1) Is Gershwin's music still under copyright here in the UK?
    2) If it isn't, would there be any restrictions in the film being sold/shown in the US?

    (Yes, I know that performances are still copyrighted. I would be playing the music myself)
  2. Jedi Gunny

    Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host star 9 VIP - Game Host

    May 20, 2008
    It depends on the way you will use the music. if you are using the music for private use only (you aren't making any money), then there shouldn't be a problem. However, you would have to check with the proper authorities if you intend to publicly screen the film and see if it is still copyrighted or not.
  3. stradman

    stradman Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jan 14, 2002
    It is my understanding that when someone buys the score for a piece of music, that gives them the right to perform it live and for free admission. There are additional royalties if you intend to use the music for a profit and record it. Now, if it is something akin to a youtube video, you should be fine. If it is a video being made for acedimic purposes, you are fine. I am sorry that I cannot be of more help with copyright issues.

    It used to be that a composition became pubilic domain 50 years after the death of the composer, in that case, you would be fine. But now with the copyright holders being non-living entities, such as estates or families I am not so sure how things would work.
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