Announcing: The Public Domain Song Anthology

from the the-public-domain-is-good. dept

When we learned about this project a couple of years ago we promised Bob Schwartz we'd run a plug for it when the time is right. Today is Jazz Appreciation Day and the crowdfunding has begun, so the time is now right. Here is Bob’s plug:

You realize something needs to be done and you are the only one crazy enough to do it. This happened when my law and music worlds collided: A D.C. restaurant stopped booking live music due to license demands from a Performance Rights Organization. I suggested that bands could play "originals," and play from a book of Public Domain popular music – but no such book exists – even though as of Jan. 1, 2019 more music is entering the Public Domain.

I realized I knew the very best music, law, and library people to create such a book, of 370 songs, and to give it away – in text and musical notation software, free for creative use and adaptation – as an Open Educational Resource. And to add up to 50 more "1924" tunes next Jan. 1. But this would mean raising all the money in advance to pay the curator / arrangers, who have agreed they would not claim any purported (and dubious) rights in their research, notation, harmonization, notes, or formatting, or in the compilation itself. If any such rights exist they will be licensed cc-0.

I'm happy and relieved to report that the Public Domain Song Anthology will be acquired and sponsored by The Music Library Association (MLA), Peabody Institute (Johns Hopkins), the University of Michigan, and the University of Virginia.

These university libraries and other MLA members have raised their share of the necessary funds, including for the publication of a print volume for subscribing libraries and donors. The rest, according to plan, must come from a public-facing crowd-funding campaign. Mike and Techdirt, who have their own share of worthy causes, have generously agreed to let me include this link to the Indiegogo page for completion of this project, which includes avenues for corporate or foundation sponsorship. For other means, including donor-advised support, contact me or MLA's Open Access Editor Kathleen DeLaurenti. Thanks.

Filed Under: anthology, copyright, jazz, music, public domain, public domain song anthology, public performance

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  1. icon
    sumgai (profile), 30 Apr 2019 @ 10:04pm

    First Thing I'd've Said...

    Ya gotta love the fear factor, engendered by this, our very own police state. Let some jerk even intimate that he has the power to bust one's nannies, and just watch the "victim" bow down faster than any one of Trump's lackies.

    If I'd been the restaurant owner, the first thing I'd've said would've been "show me the paperwork. I wanna know that you cover absolutely all musicians, and absolutely all of their works, in perpetuity. Elsewise, I'm gonna give you this here free mallet, and you can go pound sand."

    Reminds me of the "other" Nigerian problem, where they have more PROs than they do home-grown musicians.


    in re: The Topic At Hand (helping fund the project);

    I'd love to visit and perhaps cough up dough to help out, but that linked site seems to know more than I do about how to browse the web. IE11 is still being distributed today by Microsoft, so I'm not sure why any business would turn people away for using what comes with Windows.

    (And a special note for all you ABMers: Yer preachin' to the choir, so don't bother. Besides, my quibble isn't with your mistaken belief that you know more than myself about personal security, it's with websites that mistakenly think they know more than their users about personal security.)


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