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    Including music (classical) without licensing?


    Hello, I am making an alarm application and I wanted to include a default noise of classical music (something like Mozart or Beethoven). Do I require special licensing? I know for current music it will be well protected and illegal for me to include, however I had hoped that due to the age of the music I wanted to include that would not be the case. After all, I doubt Ludwig would mind if I included him in this.
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    Mozart and Beethoven owned the copyright on the composition. They don't own the copyright on particular performances of the music, unless they themselves produced the performance as well. It might be somewhat difficult to find a digital performance of their work that isn't recent and still copyrighted.
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    So any performance that claims to have them as the artist playing in the recording _should_ be alright? I understand this isn't a forum full of lawyers and I will still have to check elsewhere but just in your best sense.
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    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    The music itself is public domain but performances of it will probably be copyrighted. You can create your own recording (eg, MIDI) but you can't go out and use the Boston Philharmonic's version.
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    Originally Posted by requinix
    The music itself is public domain but performances of it will probably be copyrighted. You can create your own recording (eg, MIDI) but you can't go out and use the Boston Philharmonic's version.
    Great to know, thank you.
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    Well, Mozart died in 1791 and Beethoven died in 1827, and the phonograph was invented in 1877. So any source that claims to have a recording of either of those artists playing themselves is obviously lying

    I don't know if you can get a copyright by transferring a performance from one medium to another. ie: if someone took a phonograph recording from 1877 and converted it into an mp3, I don't know if the mp3 version is copyrightable by the person who made it.

    The copyright term is ridiculously long in the US, so there is actually not very much recorded music that isn't copyrighted. Anything recorded before 1923 is public domain. Some things recorded between 1923 1963 are public domain. Most everything newer won't be public domain within your lifetime unless the author puts it there or the law changes.
    Last edited by E-Oreo; February 8th, 2013 at 08:21 PM.
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