To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King
  • For someone who knows about copyright...

    What is the actual status of the copyright on the hymn text "To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King"? I've seen it as "© 1941 Irene C. Mueller". I've also seen it as "© 1941 Msgr. Martin Hellreigel, reassigned 1978 to Irene C. Mueller". If the latter is true, then the copyright is most likely still active (life +50 years). If the former is true, and there was no reassignment after the 1976 changes, then it should have fallen into the public domain in 2016 (75 years).
    BMP
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,383
    Hymnary.org doesn't display the hymn images, with the notation that they are under copyright.
  • I noticed that as well. So there's no way of telling, at least via that route.
    BMP
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,383
    Actually, the surname is Hellriegel, not Hellreigel.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,081
    It's possible it will not be public domain in the USA until 1/1/2037 - I think this is a good example of a hymn that people assume is at least decades older than it actually is...it's a very solidly crafted, durable and popular mid-20th century hymn.

    https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ15a.pdf
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,331
    If its copyright was renewed in the 28th year (that is, in 1969), it's still in force, but I can't find any evidence that it happened. So it may be PD now.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 355
    The copy I have is copyright 1965 M&R, used by permission from Martin B. Hellreigel, Mainz, 1900 arr. by Raymond Keldermans. I would say that if you are not planning to changes the words or the arrangement you could use it. It's likely in the PD. I also have a copy from the 1955 Peoples Hymnal, Harm. Aug. J. Huybrechts.
  • Felicia
    Posts: 13
    The 1900 date probably refers to the tune, ICH GLAUB AN' GOTT, a 19th-century German melody, and not to Msgr. Hellriegel's text, which was copyrighted in 1941. That copyright was renewed by Irene Mueller. Msgr. died in 1981. So, I would assume his text is still under copyright.

    On a different note, since Don mentioned Aug. J. Huybrechts--During the 1980's I sang in August Huybrechts's choir at Our Lady of the Assumption in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was a native of Belgium but came the U.S. after WWII. He lived in Michigan for many years before moving to ABQ. He might still be alive, though getting on in years. All of his children have musically talent. The choir performed some of his music, which was published by World Library back in the 50's and early 60's.
    Thanked by 2Don9of11 CHGiffen
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,331
    Hi, Felicia: do you have any specifics on when Irene Mueller renewed the copyright? My understanding [?] is that the renewal had to take place specifically in 1969, when the original was to expire, and I couldn't find anything listed under the names of either Mueller or Hellriegel in the published index of copyright renewals for that year.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,024
    Circular 15 rev: 07 ⁄ 2006 seems clear
    note: If a copyright originally secured before January 1, 1964, was not renewed at the proper time, copyright protection expired at the end of the 28th calendar year of the copyright and could not be restored.
    and the proper time would have been 1969.
    Thanked by 1Don9of11

  • https://www.frenchfunerals.com/obituary/August-Huybrechts

    August Huybrechts died only recently--April 19, 2020. Among many things, he taught organ at Interlochen.
  • Felicia
    Posts: 13
    Richard Chonak: To be honest, I was basing my information on what I've seen in countless hymnals, and the cautious idea to not assume public domain for anything published after the mid-1920's. But, like you, I did not find any confirmation in the U.S. Office of Copyright's online database, which goes back only to 1978. It seems odd, though, that publishers consistently list Mueller as the copyright holder if the hymn is in the public domain.

    The Acknowledgements section in my parish's hymnal (Glory & Praise, OCP, c2015) lists "Melissa Craig, 5044 Blue Meadow, Cincinnati, Ohio 45251-2707" under Mrs. Irene C. Mueller's name. And, in the credits under the hymn (#360), it says, that the copyright was assigned 1978 to Mrs. Irene Mueller. OCP must know something.

    Joseph Michael: Thank you for the information about August. I'm sorry to learn of his passing, and amazed that he was almost 100 years old! He was a wonderful man.
  • I would think that "assigned" has to do with change of ownership, but "renewed" with extending the term.

    My other thought, have you found the original entry in the copyright records? Because knowing what that looks like would probably be helpful in trying to gauge what the renewal entry should look like, if it exists.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,383
    Irene C. Mueller (1910-2010) was a Lutheran from Iowa. I haven't been able to find any actual connection with Martin B. Hellriegel other than a citation of her birth-death years.

    I've searched the 1969 copyright renewals as well as the 1978 copyright registrations and haven't found anything with respect to Msgr. Hellriegel or Mrs. Mueller.

  • Assignment of copyright has absolutely no effect on the term of copyright.

    If the copyright was renewed properly in the right year, it would be recorded. If it was not renewed properly in the right year then it has entered the public domain. It seems it was not renewed properly in the right years.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,870
    Andrew

    Is it truly fact that it was not renewed properly? I am building a new hymnal and would like to include it, but only PD content is going in it.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,081
    I would be cautious if commercial publishers are still treating it as under copyright in the jurisdiction where folks are at, as it were. They have the staff and self-interest to ferret this out. Doesn't mean inertia can't be operative, but nevertheless, that's a red flag. Without the notoriety of lawsuits concerning Happy Birthday and the Doris Plenn verse commonly inserted into How Can I Keep From Singing, it's hard to say.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,870
    @Liam

    I am definitely cautious... there are three or four hymns that fit the category of being worthy of a timeless hymnal that are more recent compositions (either in text or music) that I am considering for my project. Another would be the "Lift High The Cross". However, Thaxted is, IMHO, not of that calibre... it is a "novel catchy tune" in many regards.
    Thanked by 1Brian Michael Page
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,908
    Thaxted may have interplanetary copyrights. After all, it's Jovian (not joviaL).
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,870
    It we want to get technical, this is not sacred music... it is starship music.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,081
    I agree about THAXTED. TJCOSK is not a show-horse, but a fine Morgan. Hymnals need lots of Morgan horses - and mules (choose your breed metaphor). (To my mind, an example of a mule hymn is All Glory Laud and Hono(u)r with ST THEODULPH - it will carry and never go to a dangerous place, is always sure-footed, but can surprise you with stopping short. A mule knows reality better than your dreams.)
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen francis
  • In The Collegeville Hymnal, THAXTED is used for "O Merciful Redeemer", and makes a solid hymn. The original from which this text was adapted appears to be "O Saviour, precious Saviour" HERE, which is public domain.
    Thanked by 1Brian Michael Page
  • Whatever you do, don't include FINLANDIA. Sibelius was a rather influential mason and was instrumental in bringing masonry to his country. His organ works and many hymns were written specifically for masonic rituals. (I just recently learned this whilst listening to a podcast produced by the conductor of the Lausanne chamber orchestra.)
    Thanked by 2PolskaPiano chonak
  • Okay, and?
  • This applies exactly to Mozart too, as is well known. We were just rehearsing Ave Verum yesterday. It's a lot nicer than Sibelius.

    Better to choose the work of uninfluential Masons, like Haydn or J C Bach.
    Thanked by 1Brian Michael Page
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,081
    Andrew, don't forget the craftiest ones of all: Anonymous and "Attributed to".
    Thanked by 1Brian Michael Page
  • Didn't know about Haydn. Disappointing.
  • Liam, Anonymous is the most prolific composer I have ever seen.
  • I'm still not sure why anyone would care. I guess we'd better excise Gesualdo and Bach from our repertoire, as well. (And Bach was a Protestant - ick!) Nobody is clamouring to perform the Masonic Funeral Music at a Missa pro defunctis, and using conspiracy theories about the Freemasons taking over the Church to justify their exclusion is just silly. There aren't subliminal messages in K. 618 that'll make the entire congregation leave Catholicism if you dare to play it during Mass.
  • I agree that a beautiful setting of an overtly liturgical text like "Ave Verum" is one thing. But organ music specifically composed for masonic rituals is another. So perhaps the hymn melody Finlandia can stay, however I'd avoid the dedicated organ works.
    Thanked by 1Andrew Malton
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,870
    hmmm... more for the 'corruption' thread? To be or not to be?
  • Johann Christian, not "Bach" as in Johann Sebastian. Father and son.
  • Just to add a point of clarification:
    1. I didn't mean to derail the thread; I apologize that my comments have done so. I'm more than happy to return to the topic of the OP.
    2. I also wasn't trying to proffer a masonic infiltration theory. I think it is one thing to claim masonic infiltration of the curia, and quite another to state that music objectively written for masonic ritual (Sibelius' organ music) is not fit for Mass. The latter, to me, seems undeniable, even if the former is more difficult to prove.

    At any rate, it is a bit of a shame we can't determine whether or not this hymn is in the public domain. It is a wonderful hymn. I wonder if a direct inquiry to the copyright office (which could take forever to respond) might be the only way forward.
    Thanked by 1Andrew Malton
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 831
    I sent a query to OneLicnese.net. When I receive a response, I'll share it.
    Thanked by 1mattebery
  • It is not public domain. It is owned by Irene Mueller. Msgr. Hellriegel gave her the copyright in 1978 three years before he passed away. I believe she is living in Ohio now and she is very generous with use of the hymn, especially for non-commercial use. She 'might' have a relative administering it for her now. You can try reaching out to them for permissions.
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • Mattebery, thank you for this!
    Thanked by 1mattebery
  • Felicia
    Posts: 13
    Perhaps Melissa Craig, who was mentioned earlier, is that relative of Irene Mueller administering the copyright.
    Thanked by 1mattebery
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 831
    I received a response from OneLicense.net confirming the text was still under copyright by Irene Miller along with the last known contact information. I don't want to post that here, but I did forward it to the OP in a pm. If anyone else wants it, they can send me a pm.
    Thanked by 3Liam mattebery CHGiffen
  • Ah but are they right?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,081
    They are paying royalties, one must assume, and likely have more of an interest in disproving that confirmation than anyone on this thread.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 697
    OTOH:
    1) If they stopped paying royalties, what would they themselves be charging for?
    2) The copyright holder is known to be "generous" with permissions.
    3) Even if the registration or renewal weren't filed, Msgr. Hellriegel still has a natural law copyright to his work, and it would buy the company a certain amount of goodwill to continue to honor his wishes to provide for his family. (Or, put in the reverse way, it could be a PR headache if they were to deprive a monsignor's family of its proper income due to a legal technicality.)
  • There is no such thing as natural law copyright. If there was, makers in past centuries would have invoked it to protect their interests, and they didn't. Copyright is a "creature of statute".

    If the hymn has not yet entered the public domain in the United States, when will it, and how will anyone know? It seems the copyright renewals in official publications are untrusted: what evidence is used instead, down there?

    In Canada it will be in the public domain from Jan 1 2032, but the copyright already reverted to the estate, on Jan 1 2007.
    Thanked by 2JonathanKK tomjaw
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,081
    Given the info above, probably 1/1/2037. Unless someone manages to get the US Congress to extend the 95 year rule further because we have all these posthumous centenarian children of creators who are depending on the royalties to pay for their superelder care else they go on Medicaid.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 697
    There is no such thing as natural law copyright.

    Them's fighting words!!

    But more seriously, just because an aspect of natural law is non-justiciable, doesn't mean it isn't part of natural law, which pre-exists positive law (such as statutes) and still to some extent binds the consciences of all men (CCC 1954). Of course, the natural law claim of copyright is not absolute, just as there is no absolute right to property, and the statutes exist to regulate and provide clarity between society's countervailing interests.

    In the U.S., the natural law claim actually is justiciable in some cases, thanks to our common law heritage. See slide no. 10 of a ppt presentation given to the Library of Congress on the topic, or the Wikipedia article.

    (But it is not justiciable in this case, at least not in the U.S. I was merely pointing out the moral claim a creator may have even in the event of a failure to follow procedure.)
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • drforjc
    Posts: 23
    doesn't mean it isn't part of natural law, which pre-exists positive law (such as statutes) and still to some extent binds the consciences of all men (CCC 1954).


    Doesn't mean it is part of natural law, either. There probably is insufficient research by moral theologians in the area of intellectual property (even to the point of whether such a thing even exists), but I think it's telling that the term is of modern invention. I wonder, for example, what St. Thomas would say.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 697
    Theology is the queen of sciences. The point of a separate discipline of natural law is that it doesn't require theologians to discern it, it is a matter almost entirely of philosophy and of natural justice. And the invention of a term is not particularly telling--trinity and transubstantiation postdate Apostolic Revelation, for example.

    In any event, the concepts involved are of ancient origin, but it became more pressing as the technology developed for making cheap copies, and so the idea developed simultaneously in many places.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_copyright#Early_developments

  • The saying, "To every cow belongs her calf, therefore to every book belongs its copy" is actually in support of a right to copy, i.e. if I own a book, I should be able to copy it freely. From the recap of this story that I have heard, the wrongdoing in this case seems to have been use of another's goods without permission, and should not be interpreted as an issue of so-called intellectual property.

    Another thing, honesty about the identity of the creator of a work is obviously natural law (insofar as honesty is natural law), but this puts no restriction on copying the work.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,024
    Surely not! The issue was the ownership of the copy. Columba's monastery had obtained and prepared a lot of very expensive vellum, and laboured night and day, apparently, to inscribe the text on it, all the labour was theirs. The ruling was precisely on whether the ownership went with the physical embodiment or the text. The stories are I understand somewhat imprecise, I have read that Finnian had explicitly refused permission to copy, that would certainly colour the judgement. Ownership of liturgical texts!
    Thanked by 1Chrism
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,870
    Well, TJCOSK is still an issue I suppose, unless we follow up with the copyright office. Does the office have the final word?
  • Party 1 owned the book, and party 2 made a copy without permission. The king ruled against party 2. That is a far cry from the modern notion of copyright, which is that although party 1 may own the book, party 1 may not make a copy of it.
    Thanked by 1Andrew Malton