can you think of any jazz standards that are in the public domain and not subject to copyright laws? there are a couple such tunes in the old real book. one is "dear old stockholm", what's the other?
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limehouse blues
if copyright is 75 years max, then starting in january songs from 1932 and earlier are public domain?  

these are from 1922 or earlier and should be public domain:

after you've gone
all by myself
back home again in indiana
dear old stockholm
indian summer
limehouse blues
my buddy
poor butterfly
rose room
royal garden blues
the sheik of araby
st. louis blues
you made me love you

"i have a piece of sheet music with a copyright date of 1921, but it says copyright renewed 1949. is this public domain?
the 1909 copyright law provided 28 years of copyright protection, which was extended another 28 years if the copyright was renewed during the 28th year. this renewal extension was later increased to 47 years, giving a total of 75 years copyright protection. if this sheet music is an identical reprint of the original except for the renewal notice, then this is a public domain version. but without a pre-1923 copy to compare, you cannot be certain that this is the exact same work as published in 1921. to be absolutely certain you are working from a true public domain version, you will have to find a copy with only the 1921 copyright date."

i have a book with a 1932 copyright notice on the title page, but one of the individual songs has a copyright date of 1895.  
you must be very careful to determine if this is a reprint or a 1932 arrangement of an 1895 song. since music notation plates were quite expensive to make, most music collections were reprints of the original, even into the 1950's or later. if you have found a 1932 reprint, the music is pd but the source book is still under copyright protection. you can use the music to make your own derivative work, but you have only fair use rights to the book itself. however, if the author made his own arrangement of an 1895 song, this arrangement is still under copyright protection. this is an area where research experience is extremely valuable, and you should check with a music reference librarian.  

i have a music book with no copyright dates anywhere in the book, but it looks very old. are any of the songs public domain?
do not use this book for pd research. it is quite possible for a 100 year old book to look almost new and a quite recent book to look very old. there most likely is no copyright date because the title page is missing. the copyright law does not provide copyright protection in most instances where there is no copyright notice, but this is an area where you must be guided by an attorney or rights clearance agency. without professional advice, this book is outside of the realm of amateur pd research.

i have a book with no copyright anywhere for the book, but one of the songs has a 1915 copyright notice. is the song public domain?
this is really a combination of the last two questions. any book or music with no copyright date is quite dangerous to use for pd research. most often, the copyright page has been lost or torn out. some books have been published without a copyright date, but it is not a common occurrence. however, if the song is truly a reprint of a 1915 publication, it can be used as a pd source and it does not really matter when the book was printed. again, check with your reference librarian. if there is any doubt, try to find a copy with an unambiguous copyright notice. "
so 75 years is the max? starting in january songs from 1932 and earlier are public domain?
all of me
how deep is the ocean?
isn't it romantic
it don't mean a thing (if it ain't got that swing)
lullaby of the leaves
night and day
the song is you  
sophisticated lady
willow weep for me

as time goes by
dancing in the dark
dream a little dream of me
i found a million dollar baby  
out of nowhere
star dust  
sweet and lovely  

body and soul
a cottage for sale
daancing on the ceiling
embraceable you
exactly like you
get happy  
i got rhythm
i've got a crush on you
love for sale
memories of you

aint misbehavin'
mean to me
what is this thing called love?
with a song in my heart  
when your lover has gone  

1928 :
crazy rhythm
honeysuckle rose
i've got a crush on you
it had to be you
lover, come back to me
mack the knife
makin' whoopee
spring is here

blue skies

blue room
someone to watch over me

tea for two

fascinating rhythm
oh, lady be good!
the "subverted public domain" begins with the year 1923.  works published in that year would already be in the public domain but were saved by the sonny bono copyright term extension act of 1998. any united states work published before 1964 lost its copyright in the 28th year after publication unless the copyright was formally renewed at the copyright office.   (congress made renewal automatic for works published after 1963, so most of those works are, and for a very long time will be, under copyright.)  to check on the copyright status of works from the 1923-63 era, it is therefore necessary to determine whether the copyright was renewed.  see how to determine whether a work is in the public domain, and links contained there, for more details.
here's a site that has a search for public domain songs.
i don't know how complete it is.
very basically, anything that h as not has it's copyright renewed for 80 years is pd.  you always have to contact the publisher if you're going to write a book with music in it that is or was copyrighted, just to be sure.

for recording of course you don't have to worry about copyrights. professional cd duplication services out there will charge you the appropriate amount of royalty fees in the duplication bill.
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