Malaguena - Lecuona. Public Domain?

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Ramon Amira
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Malaguena - Lecuona. Public Domain?

Post by Ramon Amira » Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:03 pm

Does anyone know for certain whether or not "Malaguena" by Ernesto Lecuona is in Public Domain? It turns up all over the place, including many method books - Parkening, Noad, Tennant, etc., and collections.

Lecuona was Cuban, so I don't know if Cuban copyright law would apply, but current U.S. copyright law states copyright duration as "Author's lifetime plus seventy years." Lecuona died in 1963. Shouldn't this still be under copyright?

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Joe de V
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Re: Malaguena - Lecuona. Public Domain?

Post by Joe de V » Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:19 pm

The one Malaguena Solo that I have was copyrighted by Mr. Lecuona in 1928 and the latest - based on my copy notes was copyrighted by Edward B. Marks music Corp. in 1965. Check this beautiful piece simplified arrangement by Sophocles Papas. It is a good learning piece for beginners.

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Re: Malaguena - Lecuona. Public Domain?

Post by Ramon Amira » Sat Aug 15, 2015 6:49 pm

Something copyrighted in 1965 would fall under the old guidelines in place at that time, which was twenty eight years and a renewal for another twenty eight. That would put it in public domain now.

I just want to be certain. I have a CD coming out early next year, and I want to play my own arrangement of Malaguena on it. But if it is under copyright I can't and won't. Hence I want to find out for sure.

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Re: Malaguena - Lecuona. Public Domain?

Post by Joe de V » Sat Aug 15, 2015 8:43 pm

Hello Ramon. My prior comments are based on my own sheet (Edward B. Marks Music Corp.) music for that piece by Lecuona. I have not researched copyrights for this number but I also have a copy written as a "Traditional -Malaguena" piece by Mr. Delcamp issued in
June 2006.

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Re: Malaguena - Lecuona. Public Domain?

Post by Ramon Amira » Sun Aug 16, 2015 3:42 pm

Yes, this is played and published all over the place, and in methods, anthologies, collections, etc., so I get the feeling that it's in public domain. I would just not want to have my CD come out and get sued for copyright infringement.

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Re: Malaguena - Lecuona. Public Domain?

Post by Joe de V » Sun Aug 16, 2015 5:51 pm

Ramon Amira wrote:Yes, this is played and published all over the place, and in methods, anthologies, collections, etc., so I get the feeling that it's in public domain. I would just not want to have my CD come out and get sued for copyright infringement.

Ramon
I don't blame you for being cautious. I recall the case where Paul Simon was taken to court for claiming that the world wide known Peruvian song "El Condor Pasa", when it came out as part of the Simon & Garfunkel 1970 album "Bridge Over Troubled Water" Simon personalized the song by adding his own English lyrics and listed himself as the song writer. He of course lost the case and made a public apology to the family of the Peruvian composer Daniel A. Robles who wrote it in 1913 as a song for the zarzuela "El Condor Pasa".
To be fair to Mr. Simon his ignorance or lack of research placed him in that position. I have played and participated with groups playing Hispanic - American original music and songs where later are discovered being played and published under a "composer" other than the original author. I cannot speak of other non USA publishing houses but here in the USA there is a lot of missing information or lack of research before a piece of music is publish

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Re: Malaguena - Lecuona. Public Domain?

Post by Ramon Amira » Sun Aug 16, 2015 7:36 pm

Anyone interested in copyright issues should learn about Creative Commons.org. This organization is dedicated to preserving the very concept of Public Domain, which has been inexorably weakened and damaged over time.

U.S.A. copyright law for a very long time stipulated the duration of copyright as twenty eight years with a renewal of another twenty eight, then the work entered public domain. Then it was changed to the lifetime of the author plus fifty years. That was quite enough, but it has been changed again to author's lifetime plus seventy years.

There has to be a limit somewhere, or else the whole idea and purpose of public domain will be negated. I am also a playwright and novelist, and though it would be to my advantage to have a longer copyright duration, I am not in favor of this endlessly extending copyright duration.

I cannot find Malaguena listed among the works that Creative Commons lists on is website as being in public domain, so unless I can get a definitive answer I will not play it on my CD, although I would like to. If anyone knows for certain one way or the other, please let me know.

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Re: Malaguena - Lecuona. Public Domain?

Post by Joe de V » Sun Aug 16, 2015 8:18 pm

Ramon there is another possibility - at least in the written works - that IF the original author is acknowledged as the author of the musical piece and then the interpreter or player indicates Arrangement by ...............It may not be considered a violation of any existing copyrights. I am looking at my music for that piece and I found two other 'Malaguena" pieces. One by the previously mentioned Sophocles Papas and another one by Antone W. Badrane.
In Mr.Papas piece he acknowledges Ernesto Lecuona as the author and indicates that his (Mr. Papas) version is a "simplified Arrangement".
In Mr.Badrane piece he indicates: Music: E. Lecuona and then Arr: Antoine W. Badrane
Note: I notice that in Mr.Delcamp "Malaguena" published on "19 Juin 2006" there is no mention of E.Lecuona.

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Re: Malaguena - Lecuona. Public Domain?

Post by Ramon Amira » Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:09 am

Merely acknowledging the composer does not protect you from copyright infringement. You can request permission from the copyright holder, and if they grant it (you had better get it in writing) then you can play/publish it, with acknowledgement.

But without that, unless you can determine for certain that it is in public domain, then it's just too risky. I don't care to go to the trouble of writing my own arrangement, rehearsing it for the CD, cutting it, etc., only to find myself in court.

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Re: Malaguena - Lecuona. Public Domain?

Post by hpaulj » Sat Nov 28, 2015 11:26 pm

Malaguena is the name of a number of different pieces and arrangements.

It's a traditional Spanish dance.

Malaguena facil by F Tarrega - 'facil' mean easy. This starts with the E-G#-B phrasing that we all recognize. That's available on IMSLP, and in the Delcamp Tarrega collection.

Lecuona's Malaguena - this a piano arrangement from 1928. It uses the familiar E-G#-B, but repeats it many more times than Tarrega. I have a copy in a Hal Leonard book of Latin American songs that is very close to the video performance by Lecuona himself.

Most of the guitar arrangements, if they don't specifically reference Tarrega, are based on Lecuona's piano. But I haven't found any that follow the piano arrange closely. In particular the arpeggios don't follow the piano ones at all. Usually they are inspired by Tarrega's beginning chords.

To add to the confusion the Mexican Malaguena Salerosa is sometimes just called Malaguena.
Last edited by hpaulj on Sun Nov 29, 2015 12:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Malaguena - Lecuona. Public Domain?

Post by Tubbers » Sun Nov 29, 2015 12:01 am

'If you can play 'Malaguena', you can play anything'-----Keith Richards' Grandfather :)
Help!

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Re: Malaguena - Lecuona. Public Domain?

Post by Ramon Amira » Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:18 pm

Tubbers wrote:'If you can play 'Malaguena', you can play anything'-----Keith Richards' Grandfather :)
With all due respect to Keith Richards' grandfather, if that is an actual quote and not a joke, Lecuona's Malaguena is a fairly easy piece to play - in it's basic form. Of course you can make as complex an arrangement as you wish to.

I have heard many arrangements of this, ranging from a dreadful arrangement by Scott Tennant that one of my students had, to highly complex arrangements, one of which was by Vahdah Olcott Bickford, that was about as complex as can be.

But to recur to the original question, if USA copyright law applies, then this is clearly not in public domain, yet it is played/published all over the place. Perhaps Lecuona's estate doesn't have an executor to watch over it. Perhaps Cuban copyright law applies, under which it might or might not be in public domain depending on Cuban copyright law, but I have been unable to find out anything about it. Nor can I ascertain which country's law would apply.

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Re: Malaguena - Lecuona. Public Domain?

Post by hpaulj » Sun Nov 29, 2015 7:13 pm

The piano score that I have attributes the copyright to Edward B. Marks Music Company (1928) (with all the renewed and international additions).

But I wonder how the copyright applies to arrangements and adaptations for other instruments. is there some sort of threshold in much you borrow or remain faithful to the original?

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Re: Malaguena - Lecuona. Public Domain?

Post by Ramon Amira » Sun Nov 29, 2015 8:32 pm

hpaulj wrote:The piano score that I have attributes the copyright to Edward B. Marks Music Company (1928) (with all the renewed and international additions).

But I wonder how the copyright applies to arrangements and adaptations for other instruments. is there some sort of threshold in much you borrow or remain faithful to the original?
Absolutely not. Arrangements and/or adaptations - simple, complex, or otherwise, do not negate the copyright.

There is one possibility. Since Marks Music apparently owns the copyright, then Lecuona either sold it to them, or ceded it to them in return for publishing the work. If they are the copyright owners, then under the copyright law in existence at the time, they could have only renewed it once, and it would be now in public domain. I suspect that is the case.

Even under current USA copyright law it would be in public domain, since Marks Music is not the author, and so "Author's lifetime plus seventy years" would not apply. I have a strong feeling that it is in public domain.

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Re: Malaguena - Lecuona. Public Domain?

Post by Wesjr1 » Wed Dec 02, 2015 2:27 pm

Cuban copyright law is somewhat similar to the US. However, Cuban law says that a copyright lasts the lifetime of the author plus 50 years. So, in Cuba the work would be Public Domain now.

The following is part of an article about US copyright which may be of help to you. It was taken from a Legal (as in law) website. For the complete article: http://www.gcglaw.com/resources/enterta ... right.html

“Cover songs reflect the limited exclusivity provided by copyright. The original copyright owner has an exclusive right to publish or release the first sound recording of a song. After that, all other performers have the right to cut their own version of the song.

To release a cover version of a song, a musician must pay the compulsory or government-set rate for use of the song. Known as mechanical rights, the payment gives the musician the right to use the music in its own sound recording or master. Cover songs can be released on CDs or digital downloads. The statutory right to make a cover song does not extend to movie soundtracks, video games or other audiovisual works. For these uses, a license must be obtained from the copyright holder.

Under the law, the compulsory fee is paid through the Copyright Office to the copyright owners of the composition. Presently, the rates are the higher of 9.1 cents per song or 1.75 cents per minute of playing time. To better streamline the process, a nonprofit organization, the Harry Fox Agency, provides an easy to use website that provides a much simpler licensing system than licensing through the Copyright Office. For small runs of under 2,500 CDs or digital downloads, Harry Fox provides an online service called Songfile which makes for easy licensing of any of the 2 million songs in the Songfile database.

The version of the song can vary quite a bit from the original song. It can be arranged as needed to fit the performer, "but the arrangement shall not change the basic melody or fundamental character of the work." More importantly, the arranger of a cover cannot receive a copyright on the new version without the express permission of the original copyright owner.

Unlike the mechanical royalty, the public performance royalties are not determined through congressional action. Instead, the three performing rights societies — ASCAP, BMI and SESAC — license the venues where music is performed publicly. Public performances include live shows at public venues such as bars, restaurants, and auditoriums as well as performances of pre-recorded music on radio, television, the Internet and at public venues.”


You might try the Harry Fox Agency mentioned in the article for guidance
https://www.harryfox.com/
Last edited by Wesjr1 on Wed Dec 02, 2015 2:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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