copyrighting lyrics for prior copyrighted melody

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  MichaelL 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #24367 Reply

    Marie Lloyd

    Thanks guys!
    My next question has to do with getting one of my songs copyrighted that uses the melody from Five Foot Two – Has Anybody Seen My Gal, originally copyrighted in 1925 by Ray Henderson. I am new to this. How do I get permission to use this tune, and what formalities do I need to take when copyrighting my version of the song?

    #24371 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    Composer Ray Henderson
    Lyricists M. Sam Lewis,Joe Young
    Publisher EMI Music Publishing

    The work is not in the public domain. You can contact EMI (part of Sony) to try to get permission.

    #32724 Reply

    Mario Sprouse

    I have discovered that “Has Anybody Seen My Gal” was written in 1914 (Music : Percy Wenrich / Lyrics : Jack Mahoney) through Wikipedia and the International Lyrics Playground. Why is it not in the Public Domain?

    #32725 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    Why is it not in the Public Domain?

    Unless you’re looking at different article, there are two versions of the song. The most popular is from 1925. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Has_Anybody_Seen_My_Gal%3F_%28song%29

    The life of a copyright varies from country to county, but “life +70 years after the death of the last surviving author” is a common standard.

    Ray Henderson, who’s credited as the composer of the 1925 version, died in 1970. In countries where the life of a copyright is life +70 years for the last surviving author it won’t be PD until 2040.

    Regarding the 1914 version: I can’t determine when the lyricist Jack Mahoney died, but Percy Weinrich died in 1952. If he was the last surviving author, the work won’t become PD in life +70 countries until 2022. If Mahoney outlived him, it might be later.

    Within the US, for older works, there are other variables and formalities (like renewals and notice requirements) that can determine the date on which the work becomes PD.

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