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Question on Music Copyrights

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I have done a search both on this forum and on "google" and have come to the conclusion that there may be a necessity to ask permission from the Gershwin Estate before using music by George Gershwin.

:beg: Help me here, I have very little knowledge of law (I used to sleep through my Constitutional Law class in college because it was right after water polo practice!!!) :(

I am assuming that permission by the Gershwin Estate is required to produce a CD of music that would include any music by Gershwin. I am assuming that the producer of the CD or the musician(s) performing the music would apply to the Estate for said permission.

My specific questions (I think) are: Is permission from the Estate necessary to use the CD (where permission has already been granted) in a dance performance?

Does the Choreographer have a necessity to ask the Estate's permission to use Gershwin music to choreograph?

Are there differing requirements for different Gershwin pieces?

Any copyright lawyers out there?


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Yes, you should contact the Gershwin Estate about the pieces in question. After a certain period of time (75 years in most cases, I believe, in the US), a piece passes into the public domain. Music rights to popular music of Gershwin's era are usually considered to be inextricably linked with lyrics rights, which usually attach even if the pieces are performed without lyrics, so this may produce various rights holders for varying pieces. This info is really just scratching the surface. I've not dealt with the Gershwin Estate, but I have dealt considerably with the Jerome Kern Estate and found those involved very helpful and accommodating.

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