Answered By: Katie Hutchison
Last Updated: Aug 08, 2016     Views: 184

Copyright in musical works

Music, score - copyright belongs to the composer

arrangement - copyright belongs to the arranger.  Copyright will exist in new arrangements even if the music itself is out of copyright

Lyrics - copyright belongs to lyricist

Published edition - Copyright belongs to publishers


Copyright in unpublished scores and lyrics lasts indefinitely. Once the work is published, copyright lasts for 70 years from the year the creator died or if not published during the creator’s life, 70 years from the end of the year of publication.

Copyright has expired in the works if the creator died before 1 January 1955, but remember that a current arrangement of an old score will still have copyright protection.

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