Arrangements of public domain works can be registered at your local Performing Rights Organization (PRO), but they will generate substantially less royalties than an original composition.
The percentage earned by a public domain work varies based on the PRO you are affiliated with. For example, at ASCAP, public domain works are registered with a relative value of 10% — rather than 100 — for original, non-public domain works.
At BMI, copyrighted arrangements of works in the public domain (classical and popular) are credited at 20% of the typical performance royalty payment for popular songs. The only exception is live classical concert distribution, wherein no payment is made for performances of public domain arrangements.
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