Copyrighted Sheet Music - Does ASCAP or other orgs have copies?

Still working on my family tree and history. One of Grandad’s brothers was a professional musician and composer. Unfortunately no one in the family kept copies of his sheet music.

Does ASCAP or some other organization have copies of copyrighted sheet music on file? Could I write and request copies of what he wrote?

If it matters — he was in a country western swing style band. Similar to Bob Wills. Country swing was very popular in the 1950’s.

All music is copyrighted as soon as it is written down. You’re looking for some sort of registration process for sheet music. A quick look at ASCAP’s website doesn’t talk about submitting copies of a piece or work, just title, date written, author.

You might try searching http://www.copyright.gov/records/ for his name. It’s been years since I took copyright law, but I believe that a copy of the work is retained by the Library.

I was planning to write ASCAP and see if they have anything registered under my Uncle’s name. I guess in theory his estate would be eligible to receive royalties. Although, I seriously doubt any of his music has been performed since the 1950’s.

AFAIK, none of the royalties societies (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) have copies of musical works in any form. Printed music is registered and filed with the US Copyright Office. If it is old, it had to be renewed after 26 years, and if not renewed, is in public domain now.

You can access the entire database for ASCAP and BMI online, but that’s only title, author, date, etc., which might be enough if you’re trying to collect royalties.

He did have one song recorded by a Grand Ole Opry artist. No one recalls exactly who, but the song was Downhill and Shady. Now that’s a country western swing song. :smiley: So, I have a individual’s name and a song title to ask ASCAP about. Unfortunately Bert Bacharach wrote a song with the same title. That may confuse matters some.

Not that much. There must be thousands of “Lonely Man” and quite a few “Lonly Man” titles, but the author and date will set them apart.

The ASCAP & BMI databases now assign numbers to works. If they didn’t, the computers would be driven batty with errors.

Bacharach published that in 1965.

When did your relative publish his?

This has only been true since 1986. Before then, copyright had to be stated, which is why the copyright symbol was such an important indicator. One could also register a copyright to get more protections.

The Library of Congress provides a search engine for registered copyrights. They also do paid searches, since the search engine is not perfect or the friendliest. They’re a good resource.

BTW, ASCAP was the mainstream licensing organization back in the day. Downscale genres of music, like country, were more likely to use BMI. There were exceptions both ways, unfortunately. However, BMI does have an online search engine. I’ve never used it so I don’t know its quirks, but it may be a place to start.

Downhill and Shady gives one hit.



	DOWN HILL AND SHADY (Legal Title)
	BMI Work #13134775
Alternate Titles:
DOWNHILL AND SHADY

Songwriter/Composer 	Current Affiliation 	CAE/IPI #
LAMB LOUIS 	NA 	0
 
Publishers
BOOT HOUSE OF TUNES 	BMI 	214787459


Is this it? (Item #5.)

:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:
That’s it. Many, Many, Many, Many thanks.

Dealing with 60 year old family memories, I wasn’t entirely sure they even got the song title right. Especially when I saw that Burt Bacharach had written & recorded a song with the same title 15 years later.

Family memories rock after all.

Btw, I’m pretty sure Louis Lamb wrote his version in the 1950’s.

Wow, you guys even found Louis’ recording of this song. The Straight Dope kicked some major research ass tonight.

Louis was never a big, big star. His band, The Melody Boys toured mostly in Texas for about a decade or so. Got about half way up the ladder towards stardom.

If that’s the right song, then I suggest you contact the publisher, Boot House of Tunes, to see if they can supply you with the sheet music.

Krazy Kat Records, the record company that released the Heading Back to Texas compliation, is owned by the British firm Interstate Music LTD. I don’t think they are related to the Krazy Kat Records in Texas that releases hip hop music.

Please let us know how your pursuit of the sheet music goes. I’d be genuinely interested in your contacts with the records companies and publishers should you decide to do so.

I subscribed to this thread. Will post again after contacting Boot House of Tunes.

I wish there was a way to get the full recording. The link above gives a really nice 20 second sample. I don’t see any options to purchase the full song or even the full album. I’ll search around Amazon.com and see if they sell that album on vinyl or cd.

Not interested in pursing Royalties. There are way too many other family members that are more closely related then me. They’d be first in line for any Royalties, if the publisher is paying them.

Your wish is granted.