Interim Rule Regarding Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

Pursuant to the Classics Protection and Access Act, title II of the recently-enacted Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (“MMA”), the U.S. Copyright Office has issued an interim rule regarding the filing of schedules by rights owners listing their sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972 (“Pre-1972 Sound Recordings”), and the submission of contact information by entities publicly performing Pre-1972 Sound Recordings by means of digital audio transmission as of October 11, 2018 (“Notices of Contact Information”).

Under the interim rule, rights owners may file schedules listing their Pre-1972 Sound Recordings (“Pre-1972 Schedules”) with the Office using the Excel spreadsheet form provided on the Office’s website. This format is required so that the Office can timely ingest the Pre-1972 Schedules and index them into a searchable online database. For each sound recording, the Pre-1972 Schedule must include the rights owner’s name, the sound recording title, and the featured artist. Rights owners may also include additional optional information pursuant to the instructions on the form and the Office’s website (e.g., album title information).

The interim rule also specifies that persons may request timely notification of when Pre-1972 Schedules are indexed by subscribing to a weekly email notification service, which will provide a link to the Office’s online database of indexed Pre-1972 Schedules. The Office’s searchable database defaults to listing the sound recordings with the most recent index dates first, so individuals should easily be able to identify recently indexed filings.

Finally, under the interim rule, a transmitting entity may file a Notice of Contact Information using to complete the appropriate online form, located here, and pay the appropriate fee. The Office will post the Notice of Contact Information in a publicly available and searchable online directory.