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802.8 (A) A Registration for a Musical Work Distinguished from a Registration for a Sound Recording

802.8 (A) A Registration for a Musical Work Distinguished from a Registration for a Sound Recording


As discussed in Section 802.2 (B), a musical work and a sound recording of that work are separate works. For example, the song “America the Beautiful” and a recording of Whitney Houston singing “America the Beautiful” are two distinct works. The song itself (i.e., the music and lyrics) is a “musical work.” An audio recording of that song performed by a particular artist is a “sound recording.”


A registration for a musical work covers the music and lyrics (if any) embodied in that composition, but it does not cover a particular recording of that composition. Likewise, a registration for a recording of a particular musical work covers the performance and production authorship involved in creating that recording, but does not cover the music or lyrics embodied in the underlying composition.


To register a musical work, the applicant generally should select “work of the performing arts” in the Type of Work field when completing the online application and should use Form PA when completing a paper application. By contrast, if the applicant intends to register a sound recording, the applicant must select “sound recording” when completing the online application and must use Form SR when completing a paper application.


A musical work and a sound recording of that work may be registered with one application and one filing fee if the composition and the recording are embodied in the same phonorecord and if the claimant owns the copyright in both works. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.3 (B) (1)(iv). If the copyright in the musical work and the sound recording are owned by different parties, a separate application and filing fee must be submitted for each work.


It also may be possible to register multiple musical works together with a sound recording of each work if the compositions and the recordings are owned by the same claimant and if they were packaged or physically bundled together as a single unit and first published on the same date. This is known as the unit of publication option. For information concerning this option, see Chapter 1100, Section 1103.


NOTE: To register a musical work together with a sound recording of that work, the applicant must select “Sound Recording” when completing the online application or must use Form SR when completing a paper application.


Examples:


• Louise and Stan co-created a song and co-produced a recording of their composition. Louise wrote the music for the song and sang the vocals on the recording. Stan wrote the lyrics and played guitar on the recording. Louise and Stan co-own the copyright in both the song and the sound recording; therefore, both works may be registered with the same application. The applicant should complete an SR application and should name Louise and Stan as the co- claimants for the music, lyrics, and sound recording.


• Renuka wrote the music and lyrics for a song, and she owns the copyright in her composition. Renuka and Gopal co-produced a sound recording of this song, and they co-own the copyright in that recording. Because the ownership of the song and the sound recording are different, they must be registered with separate applications. The applicant should complete a PA application naming Renuka as the author/claimant of the musical composition, and an SR application naming Renuka and Gopal as the co-authors and co-claimants of the sound recording.

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