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Not only is it ridiculous that there is copyright protected by royalties on music, since it is a form of revenue unrelated to labour, but even more ridiculous is it, that even after a copyrighted author dies, royalties have to be paid to people and institutions that do not even have the slightest bit of merit with regard to his/her artistic work. Originaly law stipulated a period of 50 years after the death of a composer/author as an extention of the copyright. However the French, after the second world war, have succeeded in extending this period in many countries to an insane 70 years... Note that, as far as the USA are conscerned, copyright only extends up to 50 years after the death of the composer or author. We are unsure as to the status of American composers, 50 years death, in Europe. Logic would dictate them to have become public domain all over the world.

Some of the quite many modern composers that are GNU, Public Domain or otherwize not copyrighted and whose music can be freely performed and reproduced, given credit: Godfried-Willem Raes, Charles Ives (1), Yvan Vander Sanden, Hans Roels, Hans G.Helms (+2012), Davide Mosconi(+), Kristof Lauwers, Johan Huys, Thomas Smetryns, Moniek Darge, Sebastian Bradt, Joachim Brackx (except TV rights), Barbara Buchowiec, Xavier Verhelst, Francesca Verbauwhede(1968-2023)(4), ... (help us out adding more names...)

This is a short list of composers who are or have become public domain in Europe, because they died 70 years or longer ago. Obviously we only mention composers that died after 1900. All composers that died earlier than 1952 are in the public domain anyway.

1971: Guiseppe Verdi
1972:Filippo Marchetti, Karl Piutti
1973: Hugo Wolff
1974: Antonin Dvorak, Antonio Lopez Almagro

1975: Franz Strauss
1976:Paul Dresser, Heinrich Reimann
1977: Edvard Grieg
1978: Nicolas Rimski-Korsakof
1979: Isaac Albeniz
1980: Mili Balakiref
1981: Gustav Mahler

1982: Jan Blockx, Jules Massenet
1983: Christian Bernekow
1984: Anatoly Lyadov, Giovanni Sgambati, Ivan Zajc, Joham Amberg, Gabriel Dupont, Raoul Pugno
1985: Alexander Scriabin, Freda Swain (2), Emile Waldteufel
1986: Max Reger, Enrique Granados
1987: Scott Joplin
1988: Claude Debussy, Arrigo Boito, Cesar Cui, Rudolf Tobias, Lili Boulanger
1989: Angel Gregorio Villoldo
1990: Charles Tomlinson Griffes
1991: Camille Saint-Saens, Alphons Diepenbrock
1992: Felipe Pedrell
1993: Giuseppi Gallignani, Claude Terrasse, Asger Hamerik, Tomas Breton, Camille Chevillard, Dora Pejacevic, Jeronimo Gimenez y Bellido
1994: Vicente Greco, Ferrucio Busoni, Giacomo Puccini, Eduardo Arolas, Gabriel Faure, Karel Mestdag
1995: Erik Satie, Enrico Bossi, Paquita Bernardo
1996: Herman Suter, Charles Wood, Edmund Jenkins, Hans von Koessler
1997: Arpad Doppler, Wilhelm Harteveld, Wilhelm Stenhammar, Robert Fuchs, Jesse Shepard, Luise Adolpha Le Beau
1998: Leos Janacek
1999: Hendrik de Vries
2000: Leopold Auer, Robert Ceely
2001: Carl Nielsen, Vincent d'Indy, Waldemar von Baussnern
2002: John Philip Sousa, Julius Roentgen, Eugen d'Albert
2003: Henri Duparc, Sigfrid Karg-Elert
2004: Edward Elgar, Fredericq Delius, Gustav Holst, Franz Schreker
2005: Alban Berg, Paul Dukas, Carlos Gardel, Cornelis de Wolf, Johan Halvorsen
2006: George Gerschwin, Alexander Glazunov, Ottorino Respighi
2007: Maurice Ravel, Karol Szymanowsky, Albert Roussel, Charles Marie Widor, Gabriel Pierne, August De Boeck
2008: 'King' Oliver, Ben Harney, Albert Huybrechts, Leopold Godowsky, Maurice Emmanuel
2009: Charles Tournemire, Franz Schmidt, John Foulds, Jimmy Yancey, Oscar Roels, Arthur Loewenstein
2010: Silvestre Revueltas, Jehan Alain
2011: Frank Bridge, Ignacy Paderewski, Jerry Roll Morton, Christian Sinding, Jef Denijn, Siegfried Alkan, Johan Wagenaar, Henry Walford Davies, Primo Riccitelli, Enrique Saborido, Agustin Bardi, Walther Ruttmann
2012: Alexander Zemlinksy, Hugo Distler, Ervin Schulhoff. Also, this year writer James Joyce has fallen into the public domain!
2013: Joseph Schillinger, Sergei Rachmaninov, Leo Smit, Harry Akst [USA]
2014: Cecile Chaminade, Ethel Smyth, Hedwige Chretien, Amy Beach, Jan van Gilse, Nicolai Roslavets, Cor Kint, Arseny Avraamov, Theo Charlier
2015: Anton Webern, Bela Bartok, Pietro Mascagni
2016: Manuel De Falla, Paul von Klenau, Paul Lincke, Granville Bantock, Charles Wakefield Cadman

2017: Alfredo Casella, Reynaldo Hahn, Rudolph Simonsen, Ernest Austin, Karmik Garmiryan
2018: Kurt Schwitters, Ermanno Wolf Ferrari
2019: Joaquin Turina, Nikos Skalkottas, Richard Strauss, Rosy Wertheim
2020: Kurt Weill, Charles Koechlin, Clara Wildschut, Tom Lehrer
2021: Arnold Schoenberg, Enrique Santos Discepolo
2022: Fletcher Henderson, Artur Kapp, Henriette Bosmans, Lodewijk Mortelmans, Adolf Busch
2023: Florence Price, Joseph Jongen, Sergej Prokofjew, Conrado del Campo, Ruth Crawford Seeger



Here are the years from which on the named composers will become public domain for the entire world:

2024: Charles Ives (1), Nikolay Obukhow
2025: Arthur Honegger, George Enescu, Francois Rasse
2026: Sergei Vasilenko, Reinhold Gliere, Gustave Charpentier, Lieven Duvosel
2027: Jean (Johan) Sibelius, Erich Korngold, Sem Dresden, Eric Coates, Joseph Canteloube
2028: Joseph Holbrooke, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gerard Bunk, Florent Schmitt
2029: Bohuslav Martinu, [Boguslav Martinu], George Antheil, Heitor Villa Lobos, Ernest Bloch
2030: Matthias [Matyas] Seiber, Jacob Van Domselaer, Michel Brusselmans, Yrjo Kilpinen
2031: Percy Grainger
2032: Hans Eisler, Fritz Kreisler
2033: Edith Piaf, Jacob Gade, Francis Poulenc, Tristan Tzara
2034: Alma Mahler-Werfel, George Dyson, Jean Rogister, Ignace Lilien
2035: Edgar Varese, Henry Cowell, Frieso Moolenaar, Eric Chisholm, Joseph Ryelandt
2036: Arthur Lourie, Quincy Porter, Hermann Heiss
2037: Soltan Kodaly [Zoltan Kodaly], Albert Dupuis, Matthys Vermeulen
2038: Gerardo Matos Rodriguez
2039: Constantin Silvestri, Richard Maxfield, Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno.
2040: Jani Christou, Andre Souris, Roberto Gerhard, Kees Van Baaren, Julius Eastman (USA), Vano Muradeli
2041: Igor Strawinsky, Jim Morrison, Max Steiner, Jan Mul
2042: Stefan Wolpe, Hans Erich Apostel, Jef Tinel, Firmin Swinnen, Ferde Grofé
2043: Alois Haba, Frank Zappa, Bruno Maderna, Jean Barraque, Aleksandr [Alexander] Mosolov, Antoni Szalowski, Gianfrancesco Malipiero

composers above this line, are already in the public domain in Canada and the USA.

2044: Harry Partch, Darius Milhaud, Frank Martin, Rudolf Wuerthner, Robert Herberigs, Jean Absil, Hendrik Diels
2045: Dmitri Sjostakowitsj [Shostakovich], AnÝbal Troilo, Herman Van San, Norbert Rosseau, Arthur Bliss, Luigi Dallapiccola, Vladislav Zolotaryov
2046: Walter Piston, Willem Van Otterloo
2047: Elvis Presley, Octaaf Van Aerschot, Jean Baptiste Vanderheyden
2048: Aram Khachaturian, Howard Swanson, Jacques Brel, Anatole van Assche
2049: Yvan Vyshnegradsky [Wiesnegradski], Nino Rota, David Van De Woestijne, Roy Harris, Rebecca Clarke, Nadia Boulenger, Jean-Louis Robert, Julia Perry
2050: Louis De Meester, John Lennon, Franco Evangelisti, Rudolf Escher
2051: Samuel Barber, Alberto Soriano, Hendrik Adriessen
2052: Carl Orff, Tudor Ciortea
2053: Claude Vivier, Pintin Castellanos, Alberto Ginastera, Willem Frederik Bon, Elisabeth Luytens, Georges Auric
2054: Michel Magne, Gordon Jacob, Karel De Brabander, Peter Wishart, Walter Smetak
2055: Giacinto Scelsi, Roger Sessions, Leon Orthel, Arline Diamond, Freda Swain (2), Herman Roelstraete
2056: Flor Peeters, Maurice Durufle
2057: Morton Feldman, Frederic Mompou, Jan Douliez, Henk Badings, Wolfgang Fortner
2058: Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Tomas Sikorski, Lex Van Delden, Giacinto Scelsi, Charles Brown
2059: Henri Sauget, Ernesto Halffter, Eric Ball, Gunnar Berg, Irving Berlin, Virgil Thomson, Lennox Berkeley, Conrad Beck, Geza Frid, Yiannis Papaioannou. Herman Mulder, Raymond Baervoets
2060: Aaron Copland, Julius Eastman, Piotr Perkowski, Vladimir Ussachevsky
2061: Jean Langlais, Louis Saguer, Ernst Krenek, Andrzej Panufnik
2062: John Cage, Olivier Messiaen, Astor Piazzolla, Arthur Russell, Xavier Darasse, Jim Pomeroy
2063: Jerry Hunt, Karel Goeyvaerts, Joe Jones, Cor De Groot
2064: Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, Henry Mancini, Sven-Erik Bäck
2065: Salvatore Martirano, Isang Yun, Osvaldo Pugliese, Miklos Rozsa, Nicolas Slonimsky, Jan Decadt, Paul Ferris, Hans Henkemans
2066: David Tudor, Tristan Keuris, Eleazar de Carvalho, Morton Gould, Otto Luening, Jef Maes, Peter Aerts, Tera de Marez Oyens, Holmboe, Mikheil Shugliashvili
2067: Francisco Guerrero, Jean Francais, R.Simpson, Toshiro Mayozumi
2068: Earle Brown, Gerard Grisey, William Albright, Frank Sinatra, Ton Bruynel, Dick Higgins, Alfred Schnittke
2069: Huub Kerstens, Peter Cabus, Niek Verkruisen, Ludmila Frajt, Lubos Fiser, Louis Marischal, Rolf Liebermann, Everett Helm
2070: Friedrich Gulda, Barney Childs, Bengt Hambraeus
2071: Iannis Xenakis, Yoritsune Matsudaira, Florian Fricke
2072: Lou Harrison, Peter Schat, Arne Mellnas, Leo Ornstein, Bob Cobbing (sound poet), Henk Stam
2073: Luciano Berio, Gofredo Petrasi, Daphne Oram, Paul Termos, Robert Dispa, Reginald Smith Brindle, Peter Welffens, Sergio Ortega
2074: Fausto Romitelli, Marius Constant, Jerry Goldsmith, Jean-Louis Florentz, Joep Straesser, Roger Sutherland, Simon Poulin, Bernard Heidsieck (sound poet)
2075: Luigi Nono, Eladia Blazquez, Donald Martino
2076: Nam Yun Paik, Lucien Goethals, Galina Oestvolskaja, Gyorgy Ligeti, James Tenney , Jacques Wildberger, Malcolm Arnold, Jan Koetsier
2077: Karlheinz Stockhausen, Hans Otte, Harald Genzmer, Giancarlo Menotti, Emmett Williams, Leroy Jenkins, Isidore Isou (sound poet), Oscar Peterson, Mort Garson, David Rowland, Giuseppe Chiari
2078: Henri Chopin, Alan Strange, Bebe Barron, Tristram Cary, Henry Brant, Frank Michael Beyer, Michel Waisvisz, Mauricio Kagel, Marc Moulin, Horatio Radulescu, Josef Tal, Wannes Vandevelde, Terry Fox, Juan Pedro Blanco Rodriguez, Mort Garson, Donald Erb, George Brecht
2079: Andre Almuro, Charles Camilleri, Lukas Foss, Henri Pousseur, Louis Toebosch, Robert Heppener, Maryanne Amacher, Alvaro Guimaraes, Edith Gutierrez, Max Neuhaus, Heinz-Klaus Metzger, Friedrich Goldmann, Harry Cox
2080: Frans Evers, James Brody, Franz Kamin, Johannes Fritsch, Arne Nordheim, Henryck Gorecki, Ariel Ramirez, Christophe Bertrand, Ann Southam, Celestin Deliege, Ernest Vandereycken
2081: Rolf Julius, Milton Babbitt, John Barry, Aldo Clementi, Max Matthews, Daniel Charles, Hector Fiore, Stefano Scodanibbio, David Bedford, Richard Lainhart, David Gamper, Warner Jepson
2082: Michael Manion, Ilhan Mimaroglu, Barbara Buchholz, Tina Turner, Marvin Hamlisch, Arsene Souffriau, August Verbesselt, Emanuel Nunes, William Duckworth, Hans Werner Henze, Elliott Carter, Simeon ten Holt, Dave Brubeck, Jonathan Harvey, Otto Ketting, Walter Hekster
2083: Hans Ulrich Lehmann, Lawrence D. ('Butch') Morris, Vic Nees, Henri Dutilleux, Otto Tomek, Manfred Niehaus, Dean Drummond, Eberhard Blum, Friedrich Schenker, Gerardo Gandini, Nikos Mamamgakis, Steve Martland, Fernando Grillo, Dick Raaijmakers, Stan Hanson, Bernard Parmegiani, Wojciech Kilar, Lou Reed, Walter De Maria, Rob du Bois
2084: Conrado Silva, H.Owen Reed, Paco de Lucia, Robert Ashley, Elodie Lauten, Lee Hyla, Gerd Zacher, Peter Joshua Sculthorpe, Kenny Wheeler, David Wessel, Walter De Buck, Rainer Boesch, Joseph Goodman
2085: Paul Panhuysen, Marvin Levy, Mark Trayle, Jack Body, Rainer Riehn, Ornette Coleman, Walter Marchetti, James Horner, Roger Smalley, Remko Scha, Luc Brewaeys, John Duffy,Dieter Moebius, Per Albertsen, Erik Lotichius, Andre Waignein, Cyriel De Clippel
2086: Gilberto Mendes, Pierre Boulez, Josef Anton Riedl, David Bowie, Else Marie Pade, Keith Emerson, Peter Maxwell Davies, Leandro (Gato) Barbieri, Tony Conrad, Isao Tomita, Janpieter Biesemans, Wouter Swets, Thomas Beimel, Peter Bacchus, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Toots Thielemans, Don Buchla, Eugeniusz Rudnik, Walter Giers, Klaus Kuiper, Ladislav Kupkovic, Zoltan Kocsis, Leonard Cohen, Jean-Claude Risset, Pauline Oliveros, Karel Husa.
2087: Bill (William) Hellermann, Michael Hirsch, Veljo Tormis, Micha Mengelberg, Pierre Henry, Halim El-Dabh, Ana-Maria Avram, Gilles Tremblay, Peter Oswald, Wilhelm Killmayer, Folke Rabe, James Sellars, Klaus Huber, F.Richard Moore, Michael Hirsch
2088: Coriun Aharonian, Carles Santos, Stefan Joel Weisser (z'ev), Renaud Gagneux, Alan Stout, Johann Johannsson, Daniele Lombardi, Juan Hidalgo Codorniu, Cecil Taylor, Glenn Branca, Dieter Schnebel, Stanislaw Moryto, Gennady Rojdestvenski, Guilherme Vaz, Maurice Lemaitre, Oliver Knussen, George Walker, Chris Mann, Friedhelm Döhl, Piotr Lachert, Takehisa Kosugi, Darijan Bozic, Larry Austin, Milko Kelemen, Dalia Raudonikyte-With
2089: Michel Legrand, Andre Previn, Michael Gielen, Barbara Benary, Hans Wuethrich, Martin Böttcher, Francoise Barriere, Georg Katzer, Dominique Lawalree, Sven-David Sandström, Boguslav Schaeffer, Oskar Kröher, Joao Gilberto, Rolf Gehlhaar, Ben Johnston, Dominique Schafer, Julien Gauthier, Mario Davidovsky, Ivo Malec, Erik Ona, Christopher Rouse, Martin Wesley-Smith, Gia Kantsjeli (or Giya Kancheli, or Gjergj Kacinari), Michael Galbreth, Jan Valach, Hans Zender, Ruth Anderson, Nguyen Van Ty, Peter Schreier, Ivalo Randalu, Jiri Jirmal, Anne Taskinen, Josep Jili i Blanch, Garrett List, Hans Kox, John Joubert
2090: Reinbert De Leeuw, William O.Smith, Franklin Gyselinck, Genesis P.Orridge, Krzysztof Penderecki, Jacques Bekaert, Doris (Sorrel) Hays, Andre Stordeur, Joseph Pehrson, Richard Teitelbaum, Dmitri Smirnov, Lee Konitz, Claudio Spies, Florian Schneider-Esleben, Jack Fortner, Matthias Kaul, Ennio Morricone, Cor Fuhler, Jan De Brabandere, Jon Gibson, Toshinori Kondo, Jan Boerman, Stephan Dunkelman, Harold Budd, Paul-Heinz Dittrich, Charles Wuorinen, Vidmantas Bartulis
2091: Frederik Devreese, Chick Corea, Volker Mueller, Philippe Micol, Catherine Luening, Barbara Ess, Stephen Scott , Rudolf Kelterborn, Simon Bainbridge, Joel Chadabe, Lars-Gunnar Bodin, Sam Ashley, Yoshimasa Wada, Paolo Castaldi, Cristobal Halffter, Frederic Rzewski (3), Peter Zinovieff, Jon Hassell, Louis Andriessen, Richard Hoffmann, Jo Aichinger, Dinos Constantinides, Raymond Schroyens, Peter Rehberg, Gianluigi Gelmetti, Michael Evans, [Raymond] Murray Schafer, Siegfried Matthus, Mikis Theodorakis, Sylvano Bussotti, Carlisle Floyd, Peter Behrendsen, Udo Zimmermann, Stephen Sondheim, Alvin Lucier, Danylo Pertsov, Kamiel d'Hooghe, Tom Wouters, Gottfried-Michael Koenig
2092: Fred Van Hove, Juro Metsk, Jon Appleton, George Crumb, Jacques Calonne, William Kraft, Roland Serpierre, Joseph Horowitz, Rene Clemencic, Philip Jeck, Chantal Passamonte (Mira Calix), Philippe Boesmans, Harrison Birtwistle, Herman Nitsch (performance art), Klaus Schulze, Vangelis [Evanghelos Odysseas Papathanasiou], Darwin Grosse, Hans-Joachim Hespos, Giancarlo Cardini, jaimie branch, Bob Lens, Anton Fier, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Theo Kleij, Ingram Marshall, Anthony Ortega, Ned Rorem, Tom Phillips, John Beckwith, Angelo Badalamenti, Wim Henderickx, Jacqueline Fonteyn (?), Eduard Artemjev
2093: Yoriaki Matsudaira, Clytus Gottwald, Francesca Verbauwhede (4),

 

 

Footnotes:

(1) Charles Ives refused to copyright his music, insisting that anyone be able to use it, and scared off publishers by demanding that they make free copies available upon request. However, some publishers after Ives died claimed the copyright on his music! http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=162314460. Thus one will find BMI claiming copyrights on Ives: http://www.charlesives.org : BMI www.bmi.com. http://members.ai5.net/indexer@ai5.net/cassettemythos/Plunderphonics.html : Footnote 01 Mercury SR90149. The question of user (as opposed to listener) accessibility to the recording is a bit complicated, and the answer varies from country to country. Recordings fixed before 1972 are not protected by federal copyright in the U.S., but in some cases are protected under common law and state anti-piracy statutes. Symphony #3 was published and copyrighted in 1947 by Arrow Music Press. That the copyright was assigned to the publisher instead of the composers was the result of Ives' disdain for copyright in relation to his own work, and his desire to have his music distributed as widely as possible. At first, he self-published and distributed volumes of his music free of charge. In the postscript of 114 Songs, he refers to the possessor as the "gentle borrower." Sometime following these offerings, Ives granted permission for the publication of his music in the periodical New Music with the condition that he pay all the costs.

(2) Composers that died without heirs ought to be in the public domain. However, we are quite sure that the royalty maffia is still collecting money for performances of their work. Obviously this is a ripp-off. Freda Swain (died in 1985) is in that case.

(3) Frederic Rzewski was a strong defender of the Copyleft idea. Most of his scores can be downloaded freely from the internet. As to performing rights for his music, we are researching what the situation is right now...

(4) Francesca Verbauwhede (1968-2023) -she studied composition with Godfried-WEillem Raes- was never a member of any copyright maffia. Her compositions in fact must be considered puiblic domain.

Laatst bijgewerkt op 2023-02-25