Three Springs, PA asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania

Q: If a song is in the public domain, and someone writes a song with some of the same melody, can I still play the song?

Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers
Tania Maria Williams
Tania Maria Williams
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • West Palm Beach, FL

A: It's not clear which song you intend on playing, where and how. The song in the public domain may be able to be used, but the person who wrote the new song has copyright protection in their song.

Barbara Berschler agrees with this answer

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler
Answered
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD

A: I would really be careful about concluding that a song (music and lyrics) are in the public domain. If the newer song is based on the old song, now in the public domain, any of the newer portions the song writer used in their version are protected by copyright. Where are you intending to play the newer version? Best to consult local copyright counsel before you go out on a limb.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.