January 4th, 2014 | Category: Copyright

Prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which went into effect in 1978) the max length of copyright was 56 years (the initial 28 plus an optional renew for 28). So works from 1957 would be entering the public domain this year.

That includes:

Plays and Books: Samuel Beckett: Endgame, Jack Kerouac: On the Road, Ayn Rand: Atlas Shrugged, Dr. Seuss: How the Grinch Stole Christmas & the Cat in the Hat, Ian Fleming: From Russia, with Love.

Movies & TV: Richard Matheson: The Incredible Shrinking Man, David Lean: The Bridge on the River Kwai, the Burt Lancaster & Kirk Douglas version: Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the Glenn Ford & Van Heflin version: 3:10 to Yuma, 12 Angry Men, Sweet Smell of Success, Jailhouse Rock, Funny Face, An Affair to Remember, early Leave It to Beaver, early Perry Mason, Elvis Presley’s third and final appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Music: That’ll Be the Day, Peggy Sue, Great Balls of Fire, All Shook Up, Jailhouse Rock, Shostakovitch: Symphony No. 11, Bernstein & Sondheim: West Side Story.

And that’s really only a small portion. Typically only 15% of copyright holders renewed past the initial 28 years. So that would mean that 85% of the works created in 1985 would also be entering the public domain.

The truth is that only the famous works, like those listed above, would have been renewed (for books, the renewal rate was only 7%!), since most things exhaust their commercial value rapidly. So the real harm of auto-renewal and the extended terms is that in most cases the copyright holder is not receiving any significant royalties and the works are often commercially unavailable and off limits because of the continued copyright. Neither the creator nor the public benefits from the extension.

January 3rd, 2014 | Category: Copyright

Great article by Zachary Strebeck explaining why you can’t copyright an idea, the limitations of copyright, and what is actually protected under copyright law.

Read the article here.

December 29th, 2013 | Category: Music

Also, this Christmas season, there was a performance of my string orchestra arrangement of the carol Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella.

This performance was perhaps a little tentative, but there was only one rehearsal prior to the concert.

Listen to: Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella.

December 29th, 2013 | Category: Music

My largest work to premier this year was for a patriotic program, I Hear America Singing. It’s written for Baritone soloist, mixed chorus, and orchestra. The text is from Walt Whitman.

I wrote it with the wonderful voice of Thomas Potter in mind, and was very fortunate that he was available for the performance.

Listen to: I Hear America Singing.

You can also download the text here.

December 29th, 2013 | Category: Copyright

Great article by Rick Falkyinge about how the copyright changes have never been about benefiting the only real stakeholders in copyright, the public!

Read the article here.

December 18th, 2013 | Category: Copyright

An interview with Maria Pallante, Head of the US Copyright Office, and discussion of the upcoming leadership roundtables with music creators:

Maria Pallante, Head of US Copyright Office, To Meet With Music Creators: Exclusive | Billboard.



December 18th, 2013 | Category: Copyright

Nice article by Michael Carrier about the emphasis on infringing uses of copyright and under appreciation of non-infringing uses:

Copyright’s Blind Spot: The Innovation Asymmetry

December 18th, 2013 | Category: Music

This is one of my own favorites from my series of original Christmas carols for string quartet (or string orchestra), Shepherds.

Listen to: Shepherds.

December 17th, 2013 | Category: Copyright
December 17th, 2013 | Category: Music

Last year, First United Methodist Church of Orlando liked one of my Christmas carols (originally for chorus and organ) so much that they commissioned an orchestral arrangement.

I probably wouldn’t have considered doing that on my own, and it turned out really well. Thanks, Bill!

Listen to: A Christmas Carol.

You can also download the text here.