View Full Version : Question about copyright.

November 14th, 2007, 05:50 PM
I was wondering, since copyrights expire, is it now legal to download Beethoven's works? Or Shakespeares plays? Or is there an exception to the expiry.

How can you tell if something like that is still copyright? And what about the early Disney works, will they expire soon and become public domain?

November 14th, 2007, 05:59 PM
Copyrights for both Beethoven and Shakespeare have both expired and can be downloaded legally.

If you're interested, a good place to start looking is the Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/details/movies) which has a huge collection of texts, audio and video which is now in public domain.

November 14th, 2007, 06:04 PM
While the copyright for the works of Beethoven has expired, the same does not usually apply to performances of his works. There might also be printed scores which are still protected (if the edition does something more than just reproduce the original work as put down by the composer).

November 14th, 2007, 06:09 PM
While the copyright for the works of Beethoven has expired, the same does not usually apply to performances of his works.

Good point

November 14th, 2007, 06:28 PM
Yes- there are different kinds of copyrights going on. Anything published before 1923 is in the public domain with no legal restrictions to use. But in the case of classical music, it is only the NOTES themselves which are in the public domain. (Not recordings, and not printed editions.)

Any recordings or performances themselves are under copyright by the person or group performing the works.

November 14th, 2007, 06:46 PM
...and depending on the country, copyrights often last over a hundred years.

November 14th, 2007, 06:49 PM
Copyright I believe is a French word for "how deep in this swamp do you want to go?" It is such a morass now I wouldn't trust a copyright lawyers opinion.


November 14th, 2007, 08:10 PM
in a similar vein... this web site is making available about 20,000 ebooks that are legally free to download...

i believe (not 100% sure) that copyrights (at least in the US) have expired on the books contained on that site.

November 14th, 2007, 09:42 PM
Copyrights in the USA currently last 75 years after the death of the author. For copyrighted works owned by corporations or groups of people, it is a flat 95 years. It used to be a flat 70 years, and then a flat 55, then a flat 30, and it started lasting only 7 years with a 7 year renewal.