U.S. Copyright Office Issues Interim Rule and Notice of Inquiry Regarding Pre-1972 Sound Recordings
Issue No. 730 - October 16, 2018

Pursuant to the Classics Protection and Access Act, title II of the recently-enacted Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (“MMA”), the Copyright Office has issued an interim rule and notice of inquiry regarding sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972.

As required by the MMA, the interim rule establishes a mechanism for rights owners to file schedules listing their pre-1972 sound recordings with the Office, for individuals to request timely notification of when such filings are indexed into the Office’s public records, and for the submission of contact information by entities publicly performing pre-1972 sound recordings by means of digital audio transmission as of October 11, 2018.

In the notice of inquiry, the Office seeks public comment regarding the MMA’s noncommercial use exception. The Office is soliciting comments regarding the specific steps that a user should take to demonstrate she has made a good faith, reasonable search to determine if a pre-1972 sound recording is being commercially exploited. The Office also solicits comments regarding the filing requirements for the user to submit a notice of noncommercial use, and for a rights owner to submit a notice objecting to such use.

The instructions on how to submit a comment are available here for the interim rule and here for the notice of inquiry. Written comments must be received no later than November 15, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.