Copyright registration for a sound recording alone is neither the same as, nor a substitute for, registration for the musical, dramatic, or literary work recorded. The underlying work may be registered in its own right apart from any recording of the performance, or in certain cases, the underlying work may be registered together with the sound recording.
Use Form SR for registration of published or unpublished sound recordings, that is, for registration of the particular sounds or recorded performance.
Form SR must also be used if you wish to make one registration for both the sound recording and the underlying work (the musical composition, dramatic, or literary work). You may make a single registration only if the copyright claimant is the same for both the sound recording and the underlying work. In this case, the authorship statement in Space 2 should specify that the claim covers both works.
Form SR is also the appropriate form for registration of a multimedia kit that combines two or more kinds of authorship including a sound recording (such as a kit containing a book and an audiocassette).
For registration purposes, musical compositions and dramatic works that are recorded on disks or cassettes are works of the performing arts and should be registered on Form PA or Short Form PA. Therefore, if you wish to register only the underlying work that is a musical composition or dramatic work, use Form PA even though you may send a disk or cassette.
NOTE: Sounds accompanying a motion picture or other audiovisual work should not be registered on Form SR. The copyright law does not define these sounds as "sound recordings" but as an integral part of the motion picture or audiovisual work in which they are incorporated. These sounds are classified as works of the performing arts and should be registered on Form PA.
Jane Smith composes words and music, which she entitles "Blowing in the Breeze." Even though she records it, she is not interested in registering the particular recording but only in registering the composition itself. If she decides to submit "Blowing in the Breeze" for copyright registration, she should use Form PA.
Emily Tree performs and records Jane Smith's "Blowing in the Breeze" after complying with permissions and license procedures. If Emily decides to submit her recording for copyright registration, she should use Form SR.
The same principles apply to literary and dramatic works. A recorded performance of an actor speaking lines from "Hamlet" could be registered on Form SR as a sound recording. The claimant in the sound recording, of course, has no copyright in the underlying work, "Hamlet."