Many people today think that classical music today is freely available for everyone to enjoy and to share, but this is far from being the case. The classical music available on the internet is heavily copyrighted, and most of the time uploaded illegally by good intentioned people who are passionate about classical music. There are four main kinds of copyright affecting classical music:
- Copyright rights of the composer
- Copyright rights of the person who makes an arrangement for a specific instrument
- Copyright rights of the performer(s)
- Copyright rights of the publishers
To further complicate the problem, copyright law is antiquated and on a per country basis. In order to judge the copyright of a work, one needs to always take into consideration the country the work was created in and the country the work will be shown in. This leads to the absurd situation in which if somebody wants to distribute a work on the internet, he will have two take into account up to 40000 different copyright legistlation combinations. This is why services like Spotify and Pandora are limited to a select number of countries, and why services like Youtube constantly have problems showing videos in all countries. And these are limits that not even the most powerful corporations can go past today – the common man is of course even more hopeless when faced with these limitations. Video services like Youtube are able to distribute and show music to most countries of the world only by using a legal improvisation to go around international copyright limitations. Youtube for example says that if you go to its website, then you are legally in the jurisdiction of California (or some EU country or Russia). This saves Youtube the trouble of worrying about the copyright laws any other country that might be problematic.
The antiquated copyright laws create a huge barrier towards sharing copyrighted works on the internet, and will prevent services like Spotify from becoming globally available for a long time. People intuitively feel that classical music should be available for everybody to listen to, which is why there will always be people uploading copyrighted works on Youtube and the internet, sharing them over torrents, etc. This stems from a right attitude and conviction, but unfortunately it is illegal, and corporations will make sure that the punishment will become ever harsher for people who share copyrighted works
At HDCLASSICALMUSIC.COM, we have worked hard to devise a solution that will enable people from all around the world to listen and make use of classical music, legally and for free. We only use compositions that are now in the public domain (caused by the composer being dead for 70-100 years, depending on his country of origin), or for which permission has been obtained from the proper rights holders. Then we make sure to choose recordings for which the arranger, performer and publisher have agreed to release under a public domain, creative commons or another open copyright license. The beauty of these licenses is that they are designed for the modern age, and thus allow for sharing and use in all the countries of the world.
If you are interested in using our classical music for your projects, we recommend that you read our articles regarding royalty free classical music, and the creative commons and public domain licenses.