Press "Enter" to skip to content

Third edition of USA copyright office compendium – the author of sound recording

Generally, the applicant should provide the name(s) of the individual(s) who created the sound recording, and should not name the performing group as an organizational author, unless the group is a legal entity and the sound recording is a work made for hire. Naming the individuals as the authors of the sound recording rather than the performing group creates a clearer public record, because membership in the performing group may change over time.

The applicant should provide the legal names of the individual(s) who created the sound recording in the Author field or space (unless the work is pseudonymous, anonymous, or a work made for hire). Where the authors are members of a performing group and the applicant wishes to include the name of the performing group in the record, the applicant may provide that information in the Note to Copyright Office field in the online application.

If the sound recording is pseudonymous (meaning that the individual who created the sound recording is identified on the phonorecord under a fictitious name), the applicant may give the pseudonym instead of providing the author’s legal name and may indicate that the work is pseudonymous.

For registration purposes (draft), the name of a performing group generally would not be considered a pseudonym, because pseudonyms apply only to individuals. If an applicant names a performing group as the author and indicates that the sound recording is pseudonymous, the registration specialist generally will communicate with the applicant to request that the legal names of the individual authors who created the sound recording be added to the application.

If the applicant names a performing group as the author and indicates that the sound recording is a work made for hire, the specialist will communicate with the applicant unless it is clear that the performing group is a legal entity and the sound recording was created by the employees of that entity or was a specially commissioned work under the statutory definition of a work made for hire.

If the performing group is a legal entity and the sound recording was created by the employees of that entity or was a specially commissioned work under the statutory definition of work made for hire, then the performing group should be named as author and the work made for hire question should be answered “yes.”

For a sound recording to be made for hire, it must fall within the statutory definition. If the applicant states that a sound recording was a work made for hire and if it appears that the work does not fall within the statutory definition, the registration specialist may communicate with the applicant.

An executive producer of a sound recording generally is involved only in the financial or administrative aspect of production. This type of contribution does not constitute copyrightable sound recording authorship. When an executive producer does contribute copyrightable sound recording authorship, the applicant should describe that author’s contribution using the term “sound recording,” rather than “executive producer.”

Comments are closed.