All those searching for free piano sheet music should take the time to read the articles on this page. We have honestly gathered this info for your benefit, and for those wishing to learn about public domain or copyrighting.
Piano Sheet Music - Copyright
Thanks for shopping online to find piano sheet music, for various styles and composers. On this page you will also find a lot of interesting and hopefully helpful information. Click on this sheet music for piano link and look for the type of piano sheet music that you want. Search for various artists and composers. Our source offers over a half million titles. Browse the many selections to find what you need. If you are searching for unknown and unpublished artists (which I doubt you are) we can not help you. There are just too many new players and writers for us to have knowledge of. And, if you are looking for free piano sheet music, written from 1923 to the present, of famous artists and composers - Forget it!
Here's the reason.
Practically all sheet music for piano (also including vocal and other instruments) published since nineteen twenty three is in copyright. This simply means that most or all of your favorite songs and piano sheet music will not be free! If you don't believe me, read on. In business nothing is free(unless the store did not spend any money to get the product, and even then they will probably charge you). All of the current or semi current pop, rock, rhythm & blues, jazz, country, christian and rap songs are protected by copyright. This means that no store online or off is going to give away any piano sheet music put out after 1922. The publisher, the writer and the dealer must make a profit. That's what copywriting is all about! Now I suppose there just might be a few artists that only want to protect their works and are not interested in money. But, don't count on it!
Also be aware of the possibility that some piano sheet music published before 1923 could still be in copyright because new arrangements of old songs can be copyrighted, which is why some dates are misleading. What I mean here is that a piece of piano sheet music could have been printed in, say 1915, but a new arrangement of that same tune might be dated 2008! In some cases the original date and publisher may have been omitted. Now of course, there are many well known songs and a lot of classical piano sheet music (plus jazz, ragtime, folk, etc.) that is out of copyright. This is called public domain. Refer to the article on this page about p.d.
Free Piano Sheet Music
Below is a partial list of compositions that are most likely in public domain, but we can not guarantee this. Some of them may be found in piano sheet music form.
Mary Had A Little Lamb
Ode To Joy
We Three Kings
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring
Oh When The Saints Go Marching In
If you want a longer list, just search in google for free classical piano sheet music, or Click Here. Finding Beethoven, Bach, Chopin and others for free is quite possible. Even ragtime and some early jazz can be found for free. Basically any piano sheet music done before nineteen twenty three.
Piano Sheet Music In Public Domain
If you are still determined to find only free piano sheet music, then you must look for your desired songs and solos in public domain (unless a friend or neighbor is giving away their personal collection and the material you seek is contained within). Remember this limits your search to piano sheet music copyrighted before 1923 in the US. Laws in other countries are different. As time goes by (that's a nice song but probably not in p.d.) that date will eventually move forward unless there are changes in the copyright laws, which currently may allow up to 95 years. 120 years for an anonymous composition. Although, works copyrighted after January 1, 1978 may be protected for longer than 95 years.At the present no new pieces will expire until 2019 due to changes in the law. Of course, at any time any of this could change if new laws are passed. You should contact an attorney if you have an issue! I know, all you want is the piano sheet music, and you don't care about calling an attorney. Please read on.
A tune might fall into public domain if the composer or owner of copyright did not apply for a renewal. Believe it or not a certain number of works, books, piano sheet music. etc., have not been renewed! Another loss of right is not including a copyright notice on the publication, or an incorrect display or placement which can cause piano sheet music to go into public domain. But, the laws do allow some protection if this happened during certain time periods. Which means a tune may not be in p. d. just because a notice is missing. And of course, piano sheet music could be out of copyright even if the notice is present! Ah so, confusion says, again contact a lawyer.
Also consider other legalities such as individual's right of privacy, a persons right of publicity, plus trademark and unfair competition laws. Boy, it sure gets thick!! If you need (for any reason, such as arranging, performing or photo copying) to check the free availibilty of piano sheet music, or any other printed material for that matter, you should contact the US Copyright Office and a qualified intellectual property attorney to determine if the work you wish to use is ACTUALLY in public domain.
As for all those sites suggesting that they have free post 1922 piano sheet music, it ain't gonna happen! You will most likely be charged or asked to pay a membership fee. And there's nothing wrong with what they are asking. Although, it may be misleading. So, please trust us on this one. We have searched and sometimes the links even lead nowhere.
Now, we did find a few sites that have free popular piano sheet music that is arranged by someone. While they are free, most of the arrangemants are not very good. Plus they never include the words, since it is not possible to rearrange the words of a song. And some of these piano sheet music arrangements are only simple accompaniments and not at all like the original. Another thing you should know about some of the sites you visit. They may be located in another country and not really care about United States copyright laws, nor the laws of various other countries. This could place them under the heading of illegal. Of course some could be in the U S. I'm sure the FBI has their hands full.
A legitimate publisher will charge you for their own compilation of compositions in p.d. After all they put that book of piano sheet music together and printed it. They should get paid! Don't you agree? Sure you do. Likewise if you wrote or arranged a piano song (or any song) you would want to copyright the sheet music in order to make a profit.
The laws discussed here cover all songs from the complete history of rock & roll, R & B, rap, hip hop, country and most jazz. Remember the cut off for public domain is January 1,1923. Any piano sheet music (including all instruments & choral) put out after that date is going to have a price tag. That's just simply the way it is.
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PLEASE NOTE: WE CAN NOT AND WILL NOT GUARANTEE THAT THE INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE IS CURRENTLY VALID. YOU SHOULD, AS STATED ABOVE, CONTACT AN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ATTORNEY TO OBTAIN CURRENT INFORMATION ON ISSUES OF COPYRIGHT AND/OR PUBLIC DOMAIN.