Public domain music is music that anybody can use for unlimited purposes without having to pay for the rights to use the music. Even if the public domain music is used in profitable enterprises the person using the music never has to pay royalties for the music. This is great for anybody that wants to sample an old classic to score a movie or use in a new song.
In the United States in order for music and lyrics to classify as being in the Public Domain, they have to have been published in or before 1922 . Music published during that time period in the United States automatically classifies as being in the Public domain. The simplest and most effective way to find out if music classifies as being in the public domain is to take a look at the copyright date of the music. This will instantly tell you if you can use the music without having to pay for it since it qualifies as public domain music.
Outside of the United States public domain music copyright laws in some countries may exceed the 1922 date in America. So before you use a song from another country you’ll have to check the copyright laws of that country to make sure your following the law. If you break the copyright laws of music you may be forced to forfeit all profit you made from the music and pay the copyright holder some extra money to ease the pain and suffering you caused when you stole their music.
But once you’ve found a song that you like that legally qualifies as being in the public domain your allowed to alter it anyway you like. You can even create a new song with the music your borrowing and publish it completely as your own. All song royalties will be paid to you and you’ll never have to pay a cent for the sample that your using. You can place the song on a website or use it for advertising and it’s completely yours. You may one day be criticized for using somebody else’s work but you’ll never have to pay for it because the music your using in the public domain.
Most things that qualify as being in the public domain are usually something tangible. That’s why it’s important that you understand that most things found on the Internet don’t qualify as being in the public domain. So before you go out and use something from the Internet make sure that the copyright date qualifies as being in the public domain. Even if you find a website that says some music your interested in qualifies as public domain music it’s best to have a lawyer verify the copyright date if you plan on using the music in a profitable or public venture just to be on the safe side.