Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding the Noncommercial Use Exception to Unauthorized Uses of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings


Pursuant to the Classics Protection and Access Act, title II of the Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (MMA), the U.S. Copyright Office has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the noncommercial use exception to unauthorized uses of sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972 (Pre-1972 Sound Recordings). In connection with the establishment of federal remedies for unauthorized uses of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings, Congress established an exception for certain noncommercial uses of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings that are not being commercially exploited. To qualify for this exemption, a user must file a notice of noncommercial use after conducting a good faith, reasonable search, and the rights owner of the sound recording must not object to the use within ninety days of the notice being indexed in the Copyright Office’s public record.


After soliciting public comments through a notice of inquiry, the Office is proposing regulations identifying the specific steps that a user should take to demonstrate she has made a good faith, reasonable search. The proposed rule also details 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 request an ex parte meeting are available here. Meeting requests must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. eastern time on March 18, 2019, and all meetings must take place no later than Friday, March 22, 2019. The Office will not consider requests to hold meetings after that date.