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Rexel Matador

Copyright and recording old blues songs

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I want to record an album of old blues songs to sell or give away at gigs. I can’t make head nor tail of the information I’m seeing online regarding where I’d stand copyright-wise.

I’ve seen other blues acts selling CDs including mostly covers of old songs. Do people just do it and hope nobody catches them out or are people going through the whole process of looking into licensing songs etc?

It’s mostly pre-1950 country blues type stuff. Does anyone have any experience with this type of thing?

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Officially you will need to submit the songs to MCPS for a license. They will ask for the publishing royalty upfront (8.5% of the published dealer price).

If the songs are all traditional then you will be OK. Check for some other versions of them - they will have Trad, arranged by xxxx instead of a writer's credit. Otherwise, if the writer has been dead for over 100 years the song will have become public domain.

I'd guess a lot of acts do ignore the process. MCPS get reports from CD manufacturers, in fact, the manufacturers should not produce the CDs unless a license is in place. If you are running them off yourself or getting CDRs replicated in small quantities then these will not be reported. Chances of MCPS finding out? Probably quite low, but, like HMRC, they are a tenacious bunch.

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copy some Led Zeppelin songs , THEY didn't acknowledge the original writer either so surely can't complain if you record them too :)

Edited by bazztard

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