Sound Recording Laws

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Most Common Intellectual Property Law Issues:

Can Sound Recordings Be Copyrighted?

Yes. Three different categories of parties have interests in this area:

Each of these categories has different legal protection.

What Rights Do Owners of Sound Recordings Have?

They only have the right to prevent literal copies. Thus, they do not have the right to exclude others from performing the work publicly. The rights to exclude others from reproducing the work or from preparing derivative works are limited to the production of literal copies.

Are All Parts of the Sound Recording Able to Be Copyrighted?

There are two parts to a sound recording. First, there is the underlying musical composition. Then there is the actual sound recording. If the sound recording makes use of a composition, it is possible that it can be the work of more than one author, thus becoming a joint work. If the recording fixes other non-musical sounds, such as bird songs or ocean waves, the author of the recording would be considered a producer only.

Should I Consult a Lawyer about My Copyright Issue?

The deadlines and regulations for copyright registration are detailed and strict. An experienced intellectual property attorney can help you meet all the deadlines and fulfill all the requirements. Additionally, if you have an issue of copyright infringement, an attorney can guide you through the difficult and strict procedural requirements for litigation and and pursuing your legal interests.

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Last Modified: 01-07-2015 10:45 AM PST

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