Free Copyright Music
October 14, 2020
Free Copyright Music Means Deeper Well for Artist Inspiration
Free copyright music is often mistaken with domain free music or music in which the copyright has expired. A copyright is in place for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years. If there are more than one writer’s for the music, the copyright will be in effect for 70 years after the death of the last surviving contributor.
While this rule was set in place in order to ensure that the heirs of the author would also benefit from the royalties after the music‘s writer or composer was no longer living it is important to remember that these laws are the current laws and music written at different points in time are most likely subject to different copyright laws. When searching for free copyright music it is always a good idea to search through music that is very old rather than focusing your search on more recent musical selections as they will most likely still be under copyright protection.
It is important to remember when using free copyright music or public domain music that you must be certain the copy you are using is within the copyright period. Any music that was published before 1922 is public domain music. This does not however include derivatives or new versions of that music which may still be under copyright protection. Finding a copy of the music with the copyright date included, if that date is prior to 1922 is the best route to ensure that you are in compliance with current copyright laws and not infringing on someone else’s copyright.
It is also important to keep in mind that written music is protected differently than recorded music. Almost every sound recording that has been copyrighted in the United States is protected until 2067. If you absolutely need a sound recording you should either purchase one or make one of your own. There are some free copyright music that will allow free use of the music whether written or recorded, you must be thorough in your search for this music however as it quite rare.
Another thing to consider is that copyright laws in the United States are different than they are in other countries and if you wish to use music that is or was under copyright in another country you must follow the laws that apply to the particular piece of music you wish to perform. Free copyright music is available in almost every country and many genres; the trick is in finding great sources where you can easily find this music.
There is a project called Mutopia, which operates like project Gutenberg. Mutopia provides free copyright music rather than books however. The Gutenberg project also has a section that is devoted to free sheet music in addition to its wonderful resources for books. Each of these projects provides excellent resources for those who find themselves in need of free copyright music for whatever reason.
Whether you are a musician who is seeking inspiration from the music of old or hoping to find a composition, which you can rearrange and make your own, there are many ways in which you can go about achieving your goals that will not violate current copyrights. The key is in learning the laws both where you live and in any countries in which the music you seek to modify.