Rules Regarding Schedules of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings and Notices of Contact Information By Transmitting Entities
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 final 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”).
After soliciting public comments regarding an interim rule adopted by the Office shortly after the MMA’s enactment, the Office has finalized a rule permitting rights owners to file 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, featured artist, and, if known and practicable, the International Standard Recording Code (“ISRC”). 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, alternate titles, version, or rights owner contact information).
The final rule allows a rights owner (or her authorized agent) to correct or supplement information regarding a Pre-1972 Sound Recording where that sound recording was included in a Pre-1972 Schedule previously filed by or on behalf of that same rights owner. Information regarding a Pre-1972 Sound Recording may be corrected if the information was incorrect at the time the Pre-1972 Schedule was submitted to the Office, or supplemented to include information that was omitted at the time the Pre-1972 Schedule was submitted to the Office. The rule provides that the operative index date for a given Pre-1972 Recording will change only in the event that information in one of the statutorily required fields (title, featured artist(s), and rights owner) is amended or supplemented.
The final rule will also allow a rights owner (or her authorized agent) to remove a Pre-1972 Sound Recording from the Office’s database of Pre-1972 Schedules where the sound recording was included in a Pre-1972 Schedule filed by or on behalf of that same rights owner. A deletion may be made if there was a substantive defect in the Pre-1972 Schedule regarding the Pre-1972 Sound Recording at the time the Pre-1972 Schedule was submitted to the Office, or, upon a showing of good cause, at the discretion of the Copyright Office.
In addition, the final rule 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.
Further, the rule also provides that a transmitting entity that was publicly performing Pre-1972 Sound Recordings as of the date of enactment of the MMA could file a Notice of Contact Information before April 10, 2019. The Office will post the Notice of Contact Information in a publicly available and searchable online directory. The Office cannot accept Notices of Contact Information after April 9, 2019.