Can you get PRO royalties from public domain song covers?

Home Forums General Questions Can you get PRO royalties from public domain song covers?

  • This topic has 5 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 2 months ago by Gael MacGregor.
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  • #33299 Reply
    Walden
    Participant

    Hello All:
    I just received a request from a library asking for covers of public domain songs.
    As far as I know, cover songs can only receive sync licenses. Usually this library do only blanket licenses and you get only your PRO writers share.
    Can someone please clarify this doubt?
    Thank you very much for your help.

    #33300 Reply
    Art Munson
    Keymaster

    Yes you can. It’s considered a new arrangement in the U.S.

    Depends on the country though. Some countries have different laws IIRC

    #33301 Reply
    Walden
    Participant

    Thanks Art for your quick response.
    Does this apply only to public domain songs?

    #33309 Reply
    Paul Biondi
    Guest

    if you’re PRO is BMI, they pay 20% of the royalty rate that you would have gotten) of a song you have identified as your arrangement of a public domain work.

    #33318 Reply
    Walden
    Participant

    Thank you Paul Biondi. I´ m with ASCAP, perhaps they pay the same.

    #38638 Reply
    Gael MacGregor
    Guest

    It you create a new version that adds original melody elements anywhere in the song you can register it as a new work.

    For example: You have done some melodic modifications to “Jingle Bells” and given it a Latin treatment that changes the song, you can call it “Jingle Bells Samba.” It is based on the original work (derivative), but by adding new elements becomes a new composition.

    Think “Hush Little Baby” (the Mockingbird song). The original, traditional folk song is PD. But “Mockingbird” as created by James Taylor & Carly Simon is a protected copyright, despite its PD source.

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