Copyrightght Office Initiates Study and Requests Comments on Federal Copyright Protection for Pre-1972 Sound Recordings
Issue No. 401 - October 29, 2010

The Copyright Office is publishing a Federal Register notice requesting written comments from all interested parties on the desirability and means of bringing sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, under federal jurisdiction. Unlike sound recordings created on or after February 15, 1972, which are protected by federal copyright law, these earlier sound recordings currently are protected under a patchwork of state statutory and common laws from their date of creation until 2067. The Office seeks these comments to assist it in conducting a study on pre-1972 sound recordings at the direction of Congress. Specifically, the Office seeks comments on the likely effect of federal protection upon preservation of and public access to pre-1972 sound recordings and the effect upon the economic interests of rights holders. The Office also seeks comments on how the incorporation of pre-1972 sound recordings into federal law might best be achieved. The notice of inquiry is now available at It will be published in the Federal Register on or about Wednesday, November 3. The deadline for comments, which will be published in the Federal Register notice, will be on or about December 20, and reply comments will be due 30 days later.