Recent postings about copyright law have brought a basic question to my
mind. If you wanted to produce a new piano roll version of a tune like
"Someone to Watch Over Me", as an example, where do you start with
complying with copyright law? Is there a neat way to research for who
is the composer (Gershwin) and the copyright holder (maybe Feist)? How
do I license it? How do I find out if a song is in the public domain?
Many years ago, working in Dallas, another fellow and I were involved
with jingles, and the studio guys were always talking about what the
ASCAP man had to say about one tune or another. They were involved
in a legal hassle with an advertising firm over a character called the
"Frito Bandito" selling potato chips on TV.
Does ASCAP still exist? Does BMI still collect for sound recordings?
In other words, is there an orderly way to research a song to record a
new version and publish a piano roll?