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. Under title 17, section 1401 extends remedies for copyright infringement to owners of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings. To be eligible to recover statutory damages and/or attorneys’ fees for the unauthorized use of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings, 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 Copyright Office’s public catalog may contain information pertaining to subsequent changes in ownership of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings.

Users may search this database to locate information indexed from Pre-1972 Schedules filed with the Office. The database permits wildcard searching by using an asterisk to fill in partial words. For example, a search for “light*” in the sound recording title field currently returns, among other titles, “(In The) Cold Light Of Day,” “Harbor Lights,” “White Lightnin’,” and “White Lightning.” Users are cautioned that the database does not permit “fuzzy” searching, that is, returning approximate results. For example, a search for “Down by the Riverside” will not return the result “Down by the River,” although all alternate titles listed on a schedule will be searched.

Rights owners (or their authorized agents) may correct limited mistakes or supplement information regarding sound recordings included in Pre-1972 Schedules indexed into the Office’s public record. Click here for more information. The operative index date for a given Pre-1972 Recording will change only in the event that information in one of the statutorily required fields (title, featured artist(s), and rights owner) is amended or amplified. Links to as-filed Pre-1972 Schedules and Supplemental Pre-1972 Schedules (showing their respective index dates) will be provided through the “More Info” tab below for each sound recording.

Note that the “Index Date” field displayed for a given Pre-1972 Sound Recording in the Office’s database will reflect the index date of the latest-filed schedule including that sound recording (which may not govern eligibility for statutory damages or attorneys’ fees if it only supplements information for an optional field). Accordingly, users are cautioned to review the “More Info” tab or download information into an Excel spreadsheet for a given Pre-1972 Sound Recording to determine whether more than one schedule has been filed for a given sound recording, which may or may not affect the operative index date.

Pursuant to authority granted to the Register of Copyrights under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and due to disruptions stemming from distant telework required during the pandemic, in July 2021 the Copyright Office adjusted the index date of three pre-1972 schedules to be the business day on which each was respectively submitted to the Office, as all of the following conditions were met:

  • The remitter submitted the pre-1972 schedule in compliance with the Office's instructions.
  • The filing fee has been paid in full and was collectable at the time the pre-1972 schedule was submitted to the Office.
  • The pre-1972 schedule was properly submitted to the Office via email to [email protected] between January 1, 2021, and May 4, 2021.

For additional information, please visit the Office's Coronavirus page.

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    Title Featured Artist Rights Owner ISRC Alternate Title Album Label Index Date More Info
    Title Featured Artist Rights Owner ISRC Alternate Title Album Label Index Date More Info