Midi Copyrights -- Public Domain

I would like to use music in public domain (those not restricted by copyright), but the only way I can find it is through midi’s. The writer claims that the midis that he has sequenced are “copyrighted…”
Is it ok if I use his music? It’s public domain… and he would have had to have gotten it from a music book, which would have been “copyrighted”.

  Any comments? :-?

His MIDI files are his. You have no rights to them.

What file is it?

It’s a chopin waltze.

Which one, to be specific?
You can find those all over the place as anonymous midis.
Give me the opus and number and I can get one for you.

The best thing to do is write and ask the publisher or originator of the file. Most music in-fact is copyrighted by someone. And the MIDI-file itself, as a specific expression of a copyrighted work, can also be copyrighted as a “Performance.” § not ©.

The law’s general position is simply that the duty is upon you. Pretty much unless the work says that it is “public domain” (and you have reason to believe that the statement is credible), you are to assume that it is not; and you are to conduct (and document) a search … what the law calls “due diligence” … for the party who owns those rights and to secure permission to use the work as you intend. If the copyright holder asserts a claim against you or serves you with a “cease and desist” order, you can counter with the “innocent infringement defense.” But that won’t hold water if you “knew, or should have known, and/or would have known had you actually looked.” The absence of a “circle-C” copyright notice is not prima facie evidence of public domain status!

But, this is the Internet! You don’t have to guess! The definitive site on copyright in the United States is at the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/copyright

Any music published before 1922 in the United States is in the public domain (however no knew works will enter the public domain until 2019 due to a change in the law). This means that the song is free to use, not any particular instance of the song.

Any recording of a public domain song is copyright by the entity (usually the performer or producer of the work). This means you can’t use this particular waltze without pemission (and it doesn’t make a difference if it’s a MIDI piece producted by some unknown or a full orchestra piece by the London Symphony Orchestra).

As was mentioned earlier, most popular music in the public domain has a representation of it that the performer has declared to be in the public domain. These are easy enough to find on a web search.

If you can’t find it, then you can always get a copy of the sheet music and enter it yourself (and if it’s really complex there are programs out there that can scan sheet music and create the MIDI). Then it becomes a work that you can copyright as the performer.

Take a look at http://www.pdinfo.com/copyrt.htm for more info.

op. 66… I found a website that offered it for free for distribution and full use…

Chopin never wrote an Op. 66 waltz… Hehe, his Op. 66 was his 4th Impromptu in C# min., also known as the ever popular Fantasie Impromptu.

oops, you’re right!

Yes, yes, in addition to being “tender chorus boy” (theeth!) I am also a classical music enthusiast because of my piano playing. 10 points to anyone who can recognize my avatar.

I believe that is a French composer and pianist by the name of Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937).

Ooh! Ten points for me.

Dammit, someone got it. Yeah, Ravel’s by far the best composer ever.