Congress should enact legislation to bring rights surrounding sound recordings made before 1972 under the aegis of the federal copyright law, according to a lengthy report issued at year’s end by the Copyright Office.
Federalization of pre-1972 sound recordings would “improve the certainty and consistency of copyright, will likely encourage more preservation and access activities, and should not result in any appreciable harm to the economic interests of right holders,” the report said.
Sound recordings did not come within the ambit of federal copyright law until 1972. Thus, recordings made before that are subject to a patchwork of state laws, including criminal laws, as well as anti-bootlegging, right of publicity, and other civil laws.
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