Silent Film Cue Sheets

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tedforpresident
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Silent Film Cue Sheets

Postby tedforpresident » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:07 pm

I have a number of pdf cue sheets from silent movies, and they enter into a strange gray area for categorization and copyright.

Questions:
1. Are works published in the year 1923 in public domain? (eg. Jesse Crawford's Hunchback of Notre Dame cue sheet)
2. Are cue sheet writers considered to be composers, editors, arrangers or librettists? (eg. Jesse Crawford)

If you're curious, I've definitely got:
Son of Sheik
Buster Keaton in College
Metropolis
Hunchback of Notre Dame (Chaney)
Sam Fox Moving Picture Music (book of generic background music)

I feel I should have Thief of Baghdad but I can't find it.

KGill
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Re: Silent Film Cue Sheets

Postby KGill » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:09 am

To answer your questions:
1. Works published in 1923 and after are in most cases under copyright in the United States. (The laws are different for other countries, which is rather important as IMSLP proper is not a US-based site.) If there was a defective copyright notice on a score, it would have been theoretically injected into the public domain upon publication - but I would guess most publishers of film music were pretty careful about that (considering how popular a medium it was).
2. They would most certainly be considered composers, since they were writing original works that weren't adopted from anything else (well, in theory anyway). Fortunately, it wouldn't be a big deal if something was misfiled anyway, because everything by a person (editions, arrangements, translations, etc.) gets put under their 'composer' category. That sort of thing is very easy to fix.
(P.S. - we already have one of the volumes of Sam Fox here, so hopefully there won't be any duplication of effort :) )

Melodia
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Re: Silent Film Cue Sheets

Postby Melodia » Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:42 am

Correct me if I';m wrong, but I believe the OP is talking about a list of what music goes where, but not the music itself. Is such a list even copyrightable, seeing as it's just facts?

KGill
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Re: Silent Film Cue Sheets

Postby KGill » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:35 pm

Well...that's a good question. Conceivably, it could still be considered copyrightable since it forms a theoretically integral part of the film - its purpose is to evoke the appropriate emotion from the audience at any given time, corresponding to events onscreen. I admit that I don't know for sure what the law specifically says about it (if anything), but I would personally tend to err on the side of caution and assume it's copyrightable.

tedforpresident
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Re: Silent Film Cue Sheets

Postby tedforpresident » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:08 pm

KGill - Awesomely enough, I have Sam Fox moving pictures volume 1. I found it bundled with some copyrighted material, which I excised before uploading.

If they are part of the movie's copyright, which I don't think they are, then they are public domain. I think it gets muddled at some point. Hunchback has a big stamp at the bottom that says "Jesse Crawford Theatre Organ Society Copyright 1988", but upon searching the government internet archives, I've found no such record, in fact no record of ANY copyright by the Jesse Crawford Theatre Organ Society. And Jesse Crawford, he's been dead for... wait for it ...59 years.

In summation, I guess I won't upload these yet, but perhaps at some future date with more confidence. I'm working on collecting all the cited works in Hunchback, so if I find any more pre-1923 filler music books (by Levy or Zamecnik), I'll post them up.

UPDATE:
Mind-Blowing Discovery; this page has a few dozen scores.

booby
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Re: Silent Film Cue Sheets

Postby booby » Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:23 am

About 20 years ago I ordered some silent film cue sheets from the Jesse Crawford Organ Society and have always wanted a way to distribute them on the net for free.

My scanner died a long time ago and my old PC will not be able to handle a new one. I thought of selling Xeroxes on eBay but am already too occupied with other things to spend time on that.

A week ago, along came Dan Mahurin, who after reading a post I made at another forum, offered to scan them. Thanks to him they are finally available to everyone FOR FREE!

Here are 300dpi .pfd scans of all of the cue sheet Xeroxes I sent.

College (1927) starring Buster Keaton. 2.9 megabites
http://giant-squid-audio-lab.com/hip...sterKeaton.pdf

MusicforMovies
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Re: Silent Film Cue Sheets

Postby MusicforMovies » Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:57 pm

The link is no longer valid - can somebody please re-upload? Thanks! :)


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