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Florida Supreme Court Rules That Oldies Recordings are Public Domain

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So this is interesting...

If The FL Supreme Court case holds up to go to the US supreme  That means all music prior to 1972 is public domain.  Meaning anyone can use it any way with out fear or copyright or publishing right infringement or intellectual property or performance right.   Distributors regardless of format (streaming, download, hardware) are free to release material made before 1972.  And if a civil suit ensues all that company needs to do is have the court in Florida to have it go away.


Meanwhile fair use has been thrown out the window due to Universal Music Group claims rights to all music.  And if your music is flagged by YT/UMG whether it's yours or you are performing a cover or using music under the fair rights act.  It's not the courts that will hear your case as UMG operates as both plaintiff and judge.



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Unfortunately, the Supreme Court of <<any State>> has no power to supersede what US Federal Law already clearly says.


The duration of copyright is so-many years after the death of the original copyright holder, allowing for various other well-defined provisions (such as the "Mickey Mouse rule," which confers copyrights to "the Walt Disney Company, Inc." in perpetuity of "Walt Disney, the  mortal individual").


Copyright, in the United States, is fundamentally a federal matter, not a state matter.


Do you seriously think that "the majority of the music catalog of The Beatles, or the Rolling Stones, or <<insert name here>>" is ever going to "become valueless," at the whim of a State Judge in ... well ... "anywhere?"  (Snicker ...)

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You are right in regards to public domain issues regarding patents trademarks publishing and copyrights.  This is a matter of performance rights.


This was a ruling based on pre 1972 Copyright Law that was in effect in florida with regards to recorded performance.  A performer may not be the licensor of the publishing rights or the licensee of the copyrights.  Many (including The Beatles) had copyrights taken out from under them.


Effectively, anything recorded before the year 1972 is in the public domain and can be used freely.  At least in the state of Florida.


Keep in mind that none of this applies to the compositions themselves.  Broader copyrights have long applied to the underlying notes and lyrics, which comprise the publishing side of a song.  The other side, specifically the recorded version of that composition, was simply not protected until February 15th, 1972.


What I find interesting is that these are the same guys who had previously won a lawsuit regarding the illegal sampling of their songs.



Another interesting note is that the money for streaming and broadcast which is supposed to go back to the artist usually gets denied or absorbed into bmi / ascap operating costs.  It's for that reason Taylor Swift with others joined forces and reduced the cost to broadcast their material.  She (they) get(s) more air time and is actually getting more money directly back from broadcasters rather then going through the agency.


Tom,  Mike....  The supreme court decides which cases they will hear and which ones they won't.  If a case does not get it's day in the supreme court than the lower courts decision stands.   

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