Home Free, an a cappella singing group, put out this beautiful rendition of “Angels We Have Heard On High” a couple of years ago.
The basic song itself, melody and words, is in the public domain. Anyone can perform “Angels We Have Heard On High” anytime without paying any royalties to anybody. Home Free is thus … well, home free as they perform this lovely piece.
However, the melody and words are just one layer of the rights involved here.
- Someone wrote the harmonies we hear in the video. That person has copyright in the music of the harmonies they composed.
- The group performed the song. They have copyright in their performance.
- There was a sound engineer who did some mixing here. That sound engineer has copyright in the sound mixing s/he did to produce this video.
- There was a videographer who did the camera work for the video. That videographer has copyright in the video s/he did to produce this video.
- Finally, someone holds copyright in the final production as a whole.
There are lots and lots of layers and stakeholders in a video performance copyright.
Have a joyous holiday season!