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Music Discuss specific tunes, the writing of tunes, other questions, concerns, etc. related specifically to the music or music books.

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Old 01-29-2017, 02:15 PM   #1
clandyrile
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Default Legal to sell music already in the public domain?

I've come across tunes online such as here (https://pipetunes.ca/) and in books with composer listed as "traditional" that should be in the public domain. Is it legal to re-sell public domain works and profit? Unless they are unique arrangements it seems cavalier to charge a standard rate and alternatively offer a discounted price for whomever compiles them since there are no royalty/licensing fees.

Last edited by clandyrile; 01-29-2017 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 01-29-2017, 02:20 PM   #2
Green Piper
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Default Re: Legal to sell music already in the public domain?

I believe that when you pay for Public Domain tunes, you're paying for the typesetting.
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Old 01-29-2017, 02:43 PM   #3
clandyrile
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Default Re: Legal to sell music already in the public domain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Piper View Post
I believe that when you pay for Public Domain tunes, you're paying for the typesetting.
Is this not a certain degree of exploitation? Unless the public domain works are heavily discounted or there is something particularly special about them, consumers are asked to pay an unnecessary premium for a gratis product, the digitizer's labor is misappropriated by removing credit, and a poor image of the digitizer is created when the piece can (and should) be found elsewhere.

Last edited by clandyrile; 01-29-2017 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 01-29-2017, 03:08 PM   #4
Steve Law
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Default Re: Legal to sell music already in the public domain?

I don't see that public domain (truly out of any copyright limitaion/protection) is any different to other sorts of public data.

In UK at least there are any number of websites selling information which is readily available free of charge from Government websites. To me this looks like charging a fee for presenting data....and I believe it's quite legal (willing/hoping to be wrong on this)....so if you'd be willing to pay me for something you could get free elsewhere, it could be viewed as me profiteering, or you being silly, depending on ones point of view.

I fully support the idea of protecting work through copyright, but I'd have thought if you wish to collect public-domain tunes together and sell them, it's up to the potential customer whether it's worth your price...don't see why you shouldn't do that (but laws vary considerably between states/countries, so may or may not be legal)
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Old 01-29-2017, 03:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: Legal to sell music already in the public domain?

The composer's original copyright may well have expired, but someone along the way put in the effort to notate it in a form available via the internet, and that setting may be quite different from what the composer originally scratched out. So unless you can tell me why the person who set the tune and made it available owes you the honor of providing that to you for free, I will do you the honor of suggesting you go ahead and scratch out the tune yourself after hearing a few times.
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Old 01-29-2017, 03:26 PM   #6
Steve Law
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Default Re: Legal to sell music already in the public domain?

Bob, I think/hope that's what I meant, but was trying to be diplomatic

But I bet there's somebody somewhere who wants it all gifted....wasn't it Isaac Asimov who said 'there's no such thing as a free lunch'?

What a piper he would have made
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Old 01-29-2017, 03:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: Legal to sell music already in the public domain?

The OP mentions Jim McGillivray's tune repository. For me, when I purchase Public domain tunes from there, I expect that there will be minimal, preferably no errors and that embellishments are those that are considered standard for that tune.

I use both Sibelius and Celtic Pipes for typesetting bagpipe music, but there are times when it is simply easier to purchase from Pipetunes or Lee & Sons.

Charlie
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Old 01-29-2017, 03:48 PM   #8
clandyrile
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Default Re: Legal to sell music already in the public domain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klondike Waldo View Post
The composer's original copyright may well have expired, but someone along the way put in the effort to notate it in a form available via the internet, and that setting may be quite different from what the composer originally scratched out. So unless you can tell me why the person who set the tune and made it available owes you the honor of providing that to you for free, I will do you the honor of suggesting you go ahead and scratch out the tune yourself after hearing a few times.
I apologize in advance if I didn't have enough "honor" to purchase Scotland the Brave notation prior to learning it.
On a related note, I am appreciative of the many sources of free Charles Dickens novels online, but these sources don't typically pressure others into feeling they "owe them", they are compilers of public domain works no longer protected by copyright and volunteer their time to distribute these books for the good of everyone. It's an exploitative practice to lure consumers into purchasing works that are freely and widely available unless they are printed/presented in some special way with added value to the customer

Last edited by clandyrile; 01-29-2017 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 01-29-2017, 03:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: Legal to sell music already in the public domain?

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Originally Posted by clandyrile View Post
I apologize in advance if I didn't have enough "honor" to purchase Scotland the Brave notation prior to learning it.
On a related note, I am appreciative of the many sources of free Charles Dickens novels online, but I don't feel as if these sources feel they are "owed something", they are compilers of public domain works no longer protected by copyright. It's an exploitative practice to lure consumers into purchasing works that are freely and widely available unless they are printed/presented in some special way with added value to the customer

So..... don't purchase any music and figure out how to transcribe it yourself.

Quite frankly, you come across as simply itching to have an argument with someone.
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Old 01-29-2017, 04:01 PM   #10
clandyrile
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Default Re: Legal to sell music already in the public domain?

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Originally Posted by Green Piper View Post
So..... don't purchase any music and figure out how to transcribe it yourself.

Quite frankly, you come across as simply itching to have an argument with someone.
I gladly purchase copyrighted music not in the public domain, and highly discourage anyone from obtaining anything illegally. I just find it irksome that something as traditional and widely available as Scotland the Brave has an asking price in some corners- almost like selling the lord's prayer to christians typed in times new roman ready to print. I encourage anyone who seeks traditional tunes or books to look to the many wonderful free sources available and donate, (*if possible) to the great people who maintain public domain media of all kinds.

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