It was my understanding that recordings made before 1972 are
specifically exempted from federal copyright protection, but they do
benefit from state, common law, and anti-piracy protection. These
protections do not expire like copyright and may have much longer terms
of protection. The 1976 Copyright law specifically exempts pre-1972
recordings from from coverage under the federal copyright laws and
prohibits Congress from reconsidering the issue until 2047. The Sonny
Bono law extended this prohibition until 2067. I'll be 102 by then.
I'm a lowly librarian, not copyright lawyer, so the above should be
taken only as a guideline.
>>> [log in to unmask] 07/21/03 01:53PM >>>
----- Original Message -----
From: "James L Wolf" <[log in to unmask]>
> Remember that our friend Sonny Bono added 20 years to that
> So this means pre-1972 recordings don't go out of common-law
> until 2067. At least until the next extension.
> >>> [log in to unmask] 07/21/03 03:01AM >>>
> Incidentally, the last entry at the last URL is "Life + 70 years or
> 12-31-2047 whichever is greater". Frankly, that sounds to me more
> term of incarceration than a term of protection.
Aren't these "life +" copyright terms on the songs, rather than the
recordings? And, is it not true that sound recordings before 1972 are
copyrighted due to an oversight of the writers of the original law, so
they had to be protected by various state anti-piracy laws? Keep in
mind that until after the 1942-44 AFM strike, it wasn't standard
to pay royalties to recording artists, so that in 99.9% of cases their
lifespans wouldn't affect what they could collect!
Steven C. Barr