Music and lyrics published in 1922 or earlier are in the Public Domain in the United States.
No one can claim ownership of a song in the public domain, therefore public domain songs may be used by
anyone. Music recordings, however, are copyright protected separately from musical
compositions. There are no sound recordings in the Public Domain in the USA.
If you need a music recording - even a recording of a public domain song - you will either have to record it yourself or
license a Royalty Free Music recording.
The PD Blog:Public Domain Music and the Loch Ness Monster
IMPORTANT: All public domain information on this site is based on USA copyright law. Countries other than the US may offer copyright protection for 70 years or more after the death of the author. There is no such thing as an "international copyright". You must research and comply with the copyright laws of each separate country where you use music or lyrics.