1104 The Sound Recording / Recorded Work Option
The U.S. Copyright Office has established an administrative procedure that allows an applicant to register a sound recording and the work embodied in that recording with one application and one filing fee. This is known as the “sound recording/recorded work option.”
Specifically, an applicant may register a sound recording together with the musical work, dramatic work, or literary work embodied in that recording, provided that the following conditions have been met:
• The sound recording and the recorded work must be fixed in the same phonorecord.
• Both works must be submitted on the same application.
• The claimant for both works must be the same person or organization.
• Both works must be registered in Class SR.
See 37 C.F.R. § 202.3 (B) (1)(iv) (A)- (C).
If the sound recording and the recorded work were created by the same author, that author may be named as the copyright claimant (even if the author does not own any of the exclusive rights in the works). A third party may be named as the copyright claimant if that party owns the copyright in both works, and if the applicant provides a transfer statement explaining how the claimant obtained ownership of those rights.
As a general rule, applicants should use the Standard Application when submitting a claim through the electronic registration system, and they should select the option for “Sound Recording” on the Type of Work screen. When submitting a paper application, applicants should use Form SR. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.3 (B) (2)(iii).
NOTE: An applicant may register a sound recording and a recorded work using the Single Application. But to do so, the applicant must satisfy all of the eligibility requirements for that form (in addition to the other conditions listed above). See 37 C.F.R. § 202.3 (B) (2) (I) (B) (2). In particular, the sound recording and the recorded work must be created by the same individual, that individual must be the only person featured in the recording, and that individual must own the copyright in both works. For information concerning these requirements, see Chapter 1400, Section 1406.2.
In all cases, the applicant must submit a phonorecord that contains both the sound recording and the recorded work.
• If the works are unpublished, the applicant should submit one complete phonorecord containing the entire copyrightable content of the sound recording and the recorded work.
• If the works were published in the United States after January 1, 1978, the applicant should submit two complete phonorecords of the best edition of those works.
• If the works were published in the United States between February 15, 1972 and December 31, 1977, the applicant should submit two complete phonorecords of the works as they were first published in this country.
• If the works were published solely in a foreign country, the applicant should submit one complete phonorecord of the works as they were first published in that country.
If the works have been published, the applicant also should submit any visually perceptible material that was published with the phonorecords, such as textual or pictorial material appearing on the album cover, sleeve, or other container. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.19 (B) (2) (I); 37 C.F.R. § 202.20 (B) (2) (I), (v), (C) (1) (I)-(iv).
NOTE: A published sound recording and a published musical work may be registered with this option, but only if the musical work was published solely in phonorecords at the time of registration. If the musical work was published in copies (such as sheet music), published in both copies and phonorecords, or published solely in a motion picture before the claim is submitted to the Office, the applicant must submit a separate application for each work: one application for the sound recording, and another application for the musical work. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.20 (C) (2) (I) (E), (xii). For additional information concerning the deposit requirements for musical works, see Chapter 1500, Section 1509.2 (A).
If the Office determines that the sound recording and recorded work are eligible for registration, it will issue one certificate of registration for both works with a registration number beginning with the prefix SR or SRu (depending on whether the works are published or unpublished).
If the sound recording and recorded work are not eligible for this option, the registration specialist may ask the applicant to submit a separate application, deposit, and filing fee for each work, or he or she may simply refuse registration.