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Doug

Smile - Charles Chaplin - Is it public domain?

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You know that beautiful song...

Smile, though your heart is aching...

Does anyone know if it is public domain or not? I've tried searching but to no avail. If it's not, it would be a great lesson piece ;).

thanks,

Doug

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I found a site with the lyrics and music for Smile which states it was copyrighted in 1954 and then renewed. If so, and if they just let the renewal run out, it would go into public domain in 2011; however, with a song like that its likely they will pick up every extension possibility, and it likely will remain protected for another decade or so beyond that.

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Is it possible that the lyrics were copyrighted but not the music?

That'd be good enough. For example, Elvis has a song - Love Me Tender - the music of which (Aura Lee) is public domain.

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Bourne Music Ltd. appears to own the Copyright to the lyrics and the rights to publish the sheet music, don't know if that means they own the tune and lyrics but Chaplin composed the Music and everything else is owned by these Companies Charlie Chaplin - Rights & Copyrights - Bubbles Incorporated SA including the Film rights, I don't think either of these companies would have let the Copyright slide as the Family is pretty protective of Chaplins' work, if whoever owns it let it lapse they'll be kicking themselves because it was the Late Michael Jackson's favourite song, it's a good earner at the moment for all the wrong reasons.

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"...but not the music?"

That's an interesting question. One site suggests to me that the writers of the lyrics may hold the copy on the lyrics but Chaplin held it on something entitled "Theme to Modern Times", which might be the music.

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"...but not the music?"

That's an interesting question. One site suggests to me that the writers of the lyrics may hold the copy on the lyrics but Chaplin held it on something entitled "Theme to Modern Times", which might be the music.

I agree with HIppieDave, good question, the song didn't really become Smile until the Lyrics were written in 1954 according to the research and Chaplin composed it for his Film Modern Times, I think but it's only an assumption that the copyright must still be with The Chaplin Association and whichever Company of the two that owns the Film rights, unless someone else bought the Copyright? Copyright's a nightmare it's good fun trying to untangle it though:yes:

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Thanks for all the research, you guys. Real quagmire. All this copyright nonsense is a real drag. I remember a few years ago, Kirk had all kinds of lessons for songs that had to be removed.

In your searches did you find anything that looked like a reasonable chord chart? I found a couple but thought them a bit questionable.

thanks

Doug

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How about Canandian Capers, Doug - a Public Domain hit song from 1915?

Well, the composition itself (words and music) is in the PD, but any subsequent recorded versions are copyrighted. So anyone can record their own version of the song.

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