I have a link to the article "Who Owns Folk Songs" on another forum, but I just realized that most of my readers haven't read it yet, so I'm copying it to this forum.
I wrote it because most musicians I know WANT to deal ethically with conflicting copyright and authorship claims of Folk and "Folk-like" songs, but often don't know how - and a lot of scammers make it hard to sort out the facts.
"Who Owns Folk Songs" describes the ways some sheet music publishers try to claim "publishing royalties" on songs they have no right to. On the other extreme, some would-be musicians try very hard to avoid giving legitimate composers their due.
Other issues are addressed as well, including ways recording musicians can protect the public domain status of songs that are owned by "everybody," not just whoever most recently published or recorded them.http://creekdontrise.com/folk_songs/who ... _songs.htm