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Felix Mendelssohn and copyright


Hello.
Recently, I have recorded for a friend the sonate for organ N°6 opus 65.
I made a video for posting it on Youtube.
Great surprise, Youtube warned me that this opus is alway copyrighted.
Youtube says I can publish my video but the copyright owner will add advertisments on the video and told me also I can have future problems with law about this copyright.
I do not understand how the music of a composer dead in 1847 can still be copyrighted in 2021.
In France every copyright ends 70 years after the composer's death.
Does someone have informations about this. Thank you.
by musicalis
Jun 18, 2021 04:44 AM

Replies (9)

RE: Felix Mendelssohn and copyright

musicalis wrote:

Hello.
Recently, I have recorded for a friend the sonate for organ N°6 opus 65.
I made a video for posting it on Youtube.
Great surprise, Youtube warned me that this opus is alway copyrighted.
Youtube says I can publish my video but the copyright owner will add advertisments on the video and told me also I can have future problems with law about this copyright.
I do not understand how the music of a composer dead in 1847 can still be copyrighted in 2021.
In France every copyright ends 70 years after the composer's death.
Does someone have informations about this. Thank you.

There is no doubt at all that any works by Mendelssohn definitely during his lifetime are now in the public domain (at least here in he US with anything originally published before 1926 or so, I am quite sure that anything by him is the same status in France now). It is my guess that some algorithm with YouTube for identifying people trying to upload recordings already copyrighted has mistakenly identified whatever you are trying to post (maybe because it sounds somewhat similar enough to some recording in YouTube's databases) as a recording done by someone else that was copyrighted. I've seen that a couple times where someone posts something obviously made by them but YouTube thinks its just them reposting some already existing copyrighted recording. That's my guess what the problem is, although I must admit I would not know how to go about rectifying this issue.

by mcloney1
Jun 18, 2021 08:09 PM

RE: Felix Mendelssohn and copyright


I had the same thing happen when I posted a Scarlatti sonata on YouTube. Since I was new at posting on YT, this was a shock. Searching for info, I learned that YT checks music in videos as they are being uploaded (or shortly thereafter), against a database of music, on behalf of various music licensing agencies. If a match is found, the agency can then file a complaint against your video for copyright violation, and that is what you saw. In a situation where the music in question was used as background music for something else, you can have YT remove the music track and the rest of the video will remain intact. But obviously that won't work when the video is a music performance.

However, in YT there is a way to contest the complaint, and that's what I did. In the online form I just said that music written by a composer who died in 1757 could not be under copyright, and I also mentioned that the performance in the video was by me. A few days later, the complaint was canceled, and there was no further problem, and no ads in my video.

Since then, I have posted some pieces that I know are still under copyright, but they did not draw any complaints. So it's an odd system.

My theory of why this might happen with composers like Scarlatti and Mendelssohn is that while the composition per se is no longer under copyright, any recent edition of it would be, but that should cover only what the editor/publisher has contributed, such as layout, editorial markings, commentary and the like (not the music itself). My other theory is that a commercial recording of a piece would also be under copyright (for the performance), and they might be thinking that you copied the music from a recording. I guess that the agencies just dump everything they have into the YT database.

So it would be worthwhile to contest your complaint. Hope this helps.
by VoceUmana
Jun 19, 2021 12:43 AM

RE: Felix Mendelssohn and copyright


Thank you very much for your answers. This will help me.
by musicalis
Jun 19, 2021 06:39 AM

RE: Felix Mendelssohn and copyright

musicalis wrote:

Thank you very much for your answers. This will help me.

Hi J-P,

I had the same issue a while ago with a Christmas carol from the public domain, where the composer is dead already for centuries. What's important to understand is that YouTube's algorithm is ONLY able to identify the melody (and other features of audio, of course), but cannot determine who the *performer* is/was. Copyright laws in Germany (and, similarly in France, I suppose) say that composers/creators lose their rights 70 years after their death, BUT there may be other *performers* among the still living people who themselves have a copyright on their performance (not to be mixed up with the rights on the composition). Thus, the YT copyright claim on your performance is invalid as long as you didn't copy the *performance* of the creator / copyright owner mentioned in the claim.

In my case, I entered an objection in the YT claim response section to get rid of the copyright claim, which eventually succeeded. Of course, you're not supposed to submit a false testimony -- but according to the facts written in your initial post I have no doubt that your objection to that claim would succeed as well.

Hope that helps -- Good luck!

by woody-mc
Jun 19, 2021 03:49 PM

RE: Felix Mendelssohn and copyright


Thank you all for your interesting informations and help.
I wanted to make a private youtube video and got the warning message only for the melody of the andante.
Finally I have send the video to my friend without using Youtube, so there will be no problem.
by musicalis
Jun 20, 2021 06:33 AM

RE: Felix Mendelssohn and copyright

musicalis wrote:

Thank you all for your interesting informations and help.
I wanted to make a private youtube video and got the warning message only for the melody of the andante.
Finally I have send the video to my friend without using Youtube, so there will be no problem.

Another common mistake in thinking is that copyright claims and copyright strikes are not the same thing on YouTube.

Copyright CLAIMS simply state that another party is telling you that they *think* they own one or more rights on portions or the entirety of your content. As depicted in your example, this is not necessarily true and, personally, I recommend anyone who's confronted with false CR claims to fight back and get them removed in order to make the imperfection of the system visible to the outside world (and of course, to not let others steal or infringe on the rights that you have on your own work). Legitimate CR claims are usually not a problem on YT to keep your content up and running -- they simply tell you that you can't generate any revenue with it since other parties own the rights on portions of your content and the revenue will be paid to them. Neither does this violate the YT terms and conditions, nor do you have to expect a shutdown or strike on your account. All it says is that you simply can't make money with the work of other people. There are exceptions to that rule of thumb, of course, such as when you purchased a license from the CR owner to use their material -- in this case, you can select the appropriate option ("I purchased a license for this content") upon filing a dispute via the forms provided by YouTube.

However, content STRIKES _are_ to be taken seriously as three of them will lead to your channel being taken down by YouTube. These usually are not subject to copyright claims, but instead are mostly related to inappropriate content like excess depiction of hatred, violence or pornographic material (esp. any material which has not been flagged or marked for age control requirements accordingly). Generally speaking, this often is subject to material violating the content terms of YouTube -- or in other words, is content that they simply do not wish to see published on their platform. As long as you're not producing content as the one described above, you're safe to go and do not have to worry about any takedown notices.

Hope this was able to clear up a common misunderstanding.

by woody-mc
Jun 20, 2021 07:01 AM

RE: Felix Mendelssohn and copyright


P.S. Regardless of which platform you're using to distribute or publish content, it's always a wise idea to become familiar with their terms and conditions to avoid false impressions or misunderstandings of your personal rights as well as the DOs and DON'Ts. Always know YOUR rights, always know THEIR rights -- and the implications of what happens if anyone acts against the rights of the other party. Sometimes, it can turn out to be a life saver! :-)
by woody-mc
Jun 20, 2021 07:08 AM

RE: Felix Mendelssohn and copyright

woody-mc wrote:

Another common mistake in thinking is that copyright claims and copyright strikes are not the same thing on YouTube.

Copyright CLAIMS simply state that another party is telling you that they *think* they own one or more rights on portions or the entirety of your content. As depicted in your example, this is not necessarily true and, personally, I recommend anyone who's confronted with false CR claims to fight back and get them removed in order to make the imperfection of the system visible to the outside world (and of course, to not let others steal or infringe on the rights that you have on your own work). Legitimate CR claims are usually not a problem on YT to keep your content up and running -- they simply tell you that you can't generate any revenue with it since other parties own the rights on portions of your content and the revenue will be paid to them. Neither does this violate the YT terms and conditions, nor do you have to expect a shutdown or strike on your account. All it says is that you simply can't make money with the work of other people. There are exceptions to that rule of thumb, of course, such as when you purchased a license from the CR owner to use their material -- in this case, you can select the appropriate option ("I purchased a license for this content") upon filing a dispute via the forms provided by YouTube.

However, content STRIKES _are_ to be taken seriously as three of them will lead to your channel being taken down by YouTube. These usually are not subject to copyright claims, but instead are mostly related to inappropriate content like excess depiction of hatred, violence or pornographic material (esp. any material which has not been flagged or marked for age control requirements accordingly). Generally speaking, this often is subject to material violating the content terms of YouTube -- or in other words, is content that they simply do not wish to see published on their platform. As long as you're not producing content as the one described above, you're safe to go and do not have to worry about any takedown notices.

Hope this was able to clear up a common misunderstanding.

Here’s a similar case that a man let Epic records use the footage that he made under licence. He received a take down message from Sony. The uptake was he was the copyright holder and had given Epic records permission to use the said clip. Sony records owns Epic Records. Eventually Sony hands up we made a mistake. But this isn’t the first time they made a mistake on copyright infringement.

https://petapixel.com/2015/10/25/sony-filed-a-copyright-claim-against-the-stock-video-i-licensed-to-them/

by dreece1
Jul 8, 2021 05:47 PM

RE: Felix Mendelssohn and copyright

woody-mc wrote:

Another common mistake in thinking is that copyright claims and copyright strikes are not the same thing on YouTube.

Copyright CLAIMS simply state that another party is telling you that they *think* they own one or more rights on portions or the entirety of your content. As depicted in your example, this is not necessarily true and, personally, I recommend anyone who's confronted with false CR claims to fight back and get them removed in order to make the imperfection of the system visible to the outside world (and of course, to not let others steal or infringe on the rights that you have on your own work). Legitimate CR claims are usually not a problem on YT to keep your content up and running -- they simply tell you that you can't generate any revenue with it since other parties own the rights on portions of your content and the revenue will be paid to them. Neither does this violate the YT terms and conditions, nor do you have to expect a shutdown or strike on your account. All it says is that you simply can't make money with the work of other people. There are exceptions to that rule of thumb, of course, such as when you purchased a license from the CR owner to use their material -- in this case, you can select the appropriate option ("I purchased a license for this content") upon filing a dispute via the forms provided by YouTube.

However, content STRIKES _are_ to be taken seriously as three of them will lead to your channel being taken down by YouTube. These usually are not subject to copyright claims, but instead are mostly related to inappropriate content like excess depiction of hatred, violence or pornographic material (esp. any material which has not been flagged or marked for age control requirements accordingly). Generally speaking, this often is subject to material violating the content terms of YouTube -- or in other words, is content that they simply do not wish to see published on their platform. As long as you're not producing content as the one described above, you're safe to go and do not have to worry about any takedown notices.

Hope this was able to clear up a common misunderstanding.

This one will strike a chord with many here who played Bach’s works on this site. This one is quite laughable.

https://www.eff.org/takedowns/sony-finally-admits-it-doesnt-own-bach-and-it-only-took-public-pressure

by dreece1
Jul 8, 2021 06:05 PM

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