U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress

U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress 

Circular 56a

  Copyright Registration of Musical Compositions
   and Sound Recordings


This circular explains the difference, for copyright purposes,
between MUSICAL COMPOSITIONS and SOUND
RECORDINGS.
A Musical Composition consists of music, including any
accompanying words, and is normally registered in Class
PA. The author of a musical composition is generally the
composer, and the lyricist, if any. A musical composition
may be in the form of a notated copy (for example, sheet
music) or in the form of a phonorecord (for example, cassette
tape, LP, or CD). Sending a musical composition in the
form of a phonorecord does not necessarily mean that
there is a claim to copyright in the sound recording. 
A Sound Recording results from the fixation of a series
of musical, spoken, or other sounds and is always registered
in Class SR. The author of a sound recording is the
performer(s) whose performance is fixed, or the record producer
who processes the sounds and fixes them in the final
recording, or both.
Copyright in a sound recording is not the same as, or a
substitute for, copyright in the underlying musical composition.
REGISTRATION OF A MUSICAL COMPOSITION
AND A SOUND RECORDING WITH A SINGLE
APPLICATION
Although they are separate works, a musical composition
and a sound recording may be registered together on a
single application if ownership of the copyrights in both is
exactly the same. To register a single claim in both works,
complete Form SR. Give information about the author(s) of
both the musical composition and the sound recording.

NOTE: Phonorecords (tapes, cassette tapes, cartridges,
disks) are not sound recordings.
Phonorecords are physical objects in which various
kinds of works can be fixed—the works themselves
may be musical compositions, literary works, dramatic
works, or sound recordings.
What is being Registered: Form
to
use
How to describe
"Nature of Authorship"
in space 2:

What should be deposited

Published
in the
United States*

Unpublished

1. Song or
   other  
   musical
   composition   

PA Music and
Words
OR
Music
2 complete copies
(if published in a
notated copy
OR
1 phonorecord
(if published only
on a disk or
cassette.)
1 complete copy
(lead sheet, etc.) or phonorecord
(disk or cassette.)
2. Sound
   Recording
   only
SR Sound
Recording
2 complete
phonorecords
1 complete
phonorecords
3. Musical
   Compostion
   and Sound
   Recording
SR Music and
Sound
Recording
OR
Music,Words,
and Sound
Recording
2 complete
phonorecords
1 complete
phonorecords
Note: To make a single registration, copyright ownership in the musical composition and in the sound recording must be the same


* For foreign publications, 1 copy or phonorecord of either the first published
edition or the best edition.

REGISTRATION PROCEDURES
To register your work, send the following material in the
same envelope or package to
Register of Copyrights
Copyright Office
Library of Congress
Washington, D.C. 20559-6000:
1. A properly completed application form;
2. A nonreturnable, clearly labeled deposit(s) of the work
to be registered; and
3. A nonrefundable filing fee of $20 for each application.
EFFECTIVE DATE OF REGISTRATION
Please note that a copyright registration is effective
on the date of receipt in the Copyright Office of all the
required elements in acceptable form, regardless of the
length of time it takes thereafter to process the application
and mail the certificate of registration. The length of time
required by the Copyright Office to process an application
varies depending on the number of claims received and the
personnel available.
If you are filing an application for copyright registration in
the Copyright Office, you will not receive an acknowledgement
that your application has been received (the Office
receives more than 600,000 applications annually), but you
can expect:
* A letter or telephone call from a copyright examiner if
further information is needed;
* A certificate of registration to indicate the work has been
registered, or if the application cannot be accepted, a
letter explaining why registration has been refused.

You may not receive either of these until 120 days have
passed.
If you want to know when the Copyright Office receives
your material, you should mail it registered or certified and
request a return receipt.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information, write or call the Copyright Office
and request: Circular 50, “Copyright Registration for Musical
Compositions,” which includes information on Form PA
and/or Circular 56, “Copyright for Sound Recordings,” which
includes information on Form SR.

Additional questions about copyright problems involving
musical compositions or sound recordings may be addressed
to:

Copyright Office
LM-455
Library of Congress
Washington, D.C. 20559-6000.

To speak with a Copyright Information Specialist, call
(202) 707-3000 between 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Eastern Time,
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. TTY:
(202) 707-6737. Messages may be left on the TTY line 24
hours a day. Calls are returned between 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.,
Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
FORMS AND CIRCULARS HOTLINE
NOTE: You may order application forms and circulars
24 hours a day by calling the Copyright Office Forms
Hotline at (202) 707-9100. TTY: (202) 707-6737. Messages
may be left on the Hotline and the TTY line 24
hours a day. TTY calls are returned between 8:30
a.m.-5 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday,
except Federal holidays. Orders will be filled as quickly
as possible.
Revised March 1994

Copyright Office * Library of Congress * Washington, D.C. 20559-6000
***4/14/98***
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