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Public Domain Songs Question

Chris asks…

how can I find out if a song is public domain or not?

I recently looked up when a song becomes public domain and all that, but I have been unable to find out how I can find out if a song I know of(yes it is a rather old one) is public domain or not?

scottparat answers:

Check this excellent link:

Linda asks…

Where should I submit a children’s musical for publishing?

I am writing some plays/musicals regarding regional history of the Texas Panhandle and surrounding areas. What types of publishers should I look for? I have written several children’s books with little success, but this is an unfamiliar venue for me. All of the musical numbers in the play are either my own original composition or public domain folk songs. Thanks in advance for responses!

scottparat answers:

Here is a rather comprehensive list of many of the theatre/musical publishing houses. Some of the more recognizable names are Music Theatre International, Samuel French Inc., and Dramatists Play Service Inc. Contacting these people about your play should not necessarily be your first step, however. If you don’t have an agent representing you, it would be like an actor blindly sending headshots in to acting agencies. If at all possible, you should talk with you know from your previous writing attempts and try to network through them. You should also try and make sure that before you send anything out to anyone that you copyright all original material. Publishing houses, or anyone really, may see your script/music and turn it away but later on, produce something very similar to what you’ve produced. Another way to get your script published would be to enter it into a playwriting competition. Often the reward for these events are a chunk of money and free publishing. Visit: for a list of playwriting contests that offer publishing or do a search for Playwriting Contests on a search engine. You can also try to contact several professional children’s theatres in your region to see if they have any connections as far as local or national publishing. It might also be a good connection for you in the future, and you could have your play produced there.

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