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SolicitorRM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 5991
Experience:  Director and Principal Solicitor. UK
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What are the copyright implications of a work entitled

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What are the copyright implications of a work entitled 'Fantasy on a Theme by ...' I have written such a work using classical music which is out of copyright. I have included my own original music as part of this work and transformed the sound of the original. Can I register this as my work entirely or, as there is some of the original 'tune' left do I have to say that it contains public domain 'elements'? Which makes me an 'arranger'.
JA: Do you have a registration record?
Customer: Do you mean a resistration record of the original public domain work?
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer? What documentation do you have?
Customer: I am at the point of registering the piece I have written containing parts of the public domain 'tune'. I have stopped as I want to be sure that I register this properly. I have no paper 'documentation' of the public domain work. I have researched it online and It is definitely in the public domain.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I am a member of ASCAP and am filling in their registration form on my work. They ask whether it contains 'public domain elements'. If I answer 'yes' I am classed as an 'arranger' even though lots of this piece is wholly original. i don't want to answer wrongly one way or the other!

Hello welcome to Just Answer

I am a solicitor and It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position

Please note that I can guide you, justanswer does not provide legal representation and as such no legal lawyer/client relationship is formed.

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Thank you for reponding so quickly. Information received and understood!
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I am better at typing than speaking so prefer not to call.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Please ask any questions you need to ask. Do you have access to my original conversation or should I explain my predicament to you here?
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Are you still there?
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I see that my original conversation is available there.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Have I misunderstood? Am I REQUIRED to phone?

You are not required to call, thank you.

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Thanks Solicitor RM.

Thank you for your patience. As long as you are certain that the tune is in the public domain then yes you can use it in your own work and protect your whole work including that public domain tune. You will not be able to stop people from copying the element of your work that is the public domain tune but you can issue licences for the collective work and anybody copying the whole piece including your original works would be in breach of your copyright.

Any follow up please do not hesitate to send you message, I am glad to assist you going forward should you need any clarification. All the best.

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Does that mean I can answer 'no' to the question 'Does it contain public domain elements?'

You answer yes because it does if you are certainly using the tune .

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Okay.; I have answered 'yes'. Now I have to choose one of the options on this drop down menu. I am sending you a screenshot. I have ticked 'unspecified arrangement' as I didn't know what else fitted, does this seem right to you?
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
It's tricky as part of the piece is original and part of it is an electronic arrangement of the public domain 'tune'.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Can you say which option best fits my work?

Thank you for your patience. If you find separating the pubic domain tune into what is exclusively public domain and your electronic arrangement input then yes the best option on your drop down would be unspecified arrangement.

SolicitorRM and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Thank you for your help! I think I've got as close as I'm going to get in deciding what to do. Have a good weekend! Barbara

You are welcome.