Requirements and Instructions for Completing and Submitting Schedules of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

A Schedule of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings (“Pre-1972 Schedule”) is a special type of document that owners of sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972 (“Pre-1972 Sound Recordings”), may file with the Copyright Office in accordance with the instructions provided on this page. Under title 17, section 1401 extends remedies for copyright infringement to owners of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings. Under the provision, rights owners may seek statutory damages and/or attorneys’ fees for the unauthorized use of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings if certain requirements are met. Rights owners typically must file schedules listing their Pre-1972 Sound Recordings with the Office, specifying the name of the rights owner, title, and featured artist for each sound recording. 17 U.S.C. § 1401(f)(5)(A). The Office then indexes these Pre-1972 Schedules and provides public notice of the filings through an online database. For information regarding eligibility for statutory damages and/or attorneys’ fees for unauthorized uses made by transmitting entities that have filed a notice of contact information, click here.

To submit a Pre-1972 Schedule, you need a deposit account with the Office, which at the time of your filing contains sufficient funds to pay all applicable fees in total (information about deposit accounts can be found in 37 CFR 201.6(b) and Circular 5).

Required Documents

You must submit a:

The cover sheet and template can be found in the Related Information box to the right. Failure to submit either of these documents may result in rejection of your filing.

The cover sheet is a fillable PDF form that allows the Office to connect your Pre-1972 Schedule with your contact information and fee payment information. It should be completed in conformity with the following requirements:
  • A separate cover sheet should accompany each Pre-1972 Schedule you file;
  • All fields in the cover sheet are required;
  • All information provided in the cover sheet should match the information provided in the corresponding Pre-1972 Schedule; and
  • The fees specified in the cover sheet must be calculated in accordance with 37 CFR 201.3(c). The current fee is $75 per Pre-1972 Schedule plus $10 per group of 1-100 additional titles. For example, the fee for a Pre-1972 Schedule that includes 118 sound recordings would be $95 (Title 1=$75; Titles 2-101=$10; Titles 102-118=$10).

The cover sheet will not be posted on the Office’s public website.

The Pre-1972 Schedule must be created using the Excel spreadsheet template provided by the Office, so that the Office can index the information in the Schedule into a public database. It should:
  • Contain all the information required by the template, including the name of the rights owner, title, and featured artist, in accordance with 37 CFR 201.35; and
  • Provide the name of the individual actually submitting the Pre-1972 Schedule to the Office (either the rights owner or the rights owner’s duly authorized agent) typed into the certification required by 37 CFR 201.35(d)(2) (in row 3 of the template).
  • You may also include additional information, such as label name, publication date, and alternate sound recording title(s) or albums for each sound recording, if applicable.
  • If a sound recording has multiple alternate title names or album titles, they must be separated by semicolons (e.g., Sweet Sweet Baby; Since You’ve Been Gone).
  • If a publication date is provided for a sound recording, it must be in a four-digit format (e.g., 1970).

The Pre-1972 Schedule will be made available through the Office’s public online database.

Requirements for Submitting Your Filing

Please send your completed submission to the Copyright Office via email to [email protected]. If electronic submission of your schedule is not feasible due to lack of access to a computer and/or the internet, please contact the Office using the contact information below for special instructions. Each submission email should conform to the following requirements:

  • Each email should contain attachments of both a cover sheet and a corresponding Pre-1972 Schedule;
  • Each cover sheet and Pre-1972 Schedule pair should be emailed separately (no email should contain more than one cover sheet or Pre-1972 Schedule);
  • The Pre-1972 Schedule must be emailed as an Excel file, and must not be converted to PDF or any other file format;
  • The cover sheet and Pre-1972 Schedule must not be locked or have any protections or restrictions in place (other than what has already been locked by the Office in the template made available on this page); and
  • All emails must be smaller than twenty megabytes. If your submission exceeds this limit, you must split up your Pre-1972 Schedule and make multiple filings (including additional cover sheets as necessary).

Where a sound recording has multiple rights owners:

  • A single rights owner may file a Pre-1972 Schedule pertaining to sound recordings where that owner is not the sole owner.
  • If you include multiple rights owners for a sound recording, they must be separated by semicolons.
  • It is not necessary for every rights owner to file a Pre-1972 Schedule, though it is permitted.

What to Expect After Submission

Shortly after you have submitted the requisite materials, you will receive an email confirming that your submission has been received by the Office. If your submission complies with the procedural requirements detailed above, the applicable fees will be deducted from the specified deposit account and you will be sent an email confirming that your Pre-1972 Schedule has been successfully filed with the Office. Next, your Pre-1972 Schedule will indexed into the Office’s public records and be made publicly available through the Office’s online database.

Please note that the Office does not analyze Pre-1972 Schedules for legal sufficiency, interpret their content, or screen them for errors or discrepancies. The Office’s review is limited to whether the procedural requirements established by the Office (including payment of the proper filing fee) have been met.

If your submission fails to comply with the Office’s procedural requirements, you will receive an email stating that your submission has been rejected and an explanation of the defect(s).

If you have any questions, please contact the Office at (202) 707-3000 or 1-877-476-0778 (toll free), or at [email protected].