Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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802.9 (E) (1) Instrument Names / Vocals

802.9 (E) (1) Instrument Names / Vocals

Giving an instrument name (e.g., guitar, trumpet, or keyboard) as a description of authorship is unclear, because the instrument could refer either to the music, the performance, or both. To refer to the musical contribution, the applicant should use clear terms, such as music, melody, or arrangement after the instrument named (e.g., “music for guitar,” “trumpet melody,” or “keyboard arrangement”).

Similarly, the term “vocals” is unclear, because it could refer to either lyrics or performance. To refer to the lyrics, the applicant should state “lyrics.” To refer to the melody to which the lyrics are sung, the applicant should state “melody.”

For guidance in asserting a claim in the performance contribution, see Sections 803.9 (C) and 803.9 (D) (1).

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