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

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803.3 Elements of Sound Recordings

803.3 Elements of Sound Recordings

There are two types of sound recording authorship:

• Authorship in the performance(s); and

• Authorship in the production of the sound recording.

Both the performer and the producer of a sound recording of a musical performance or spoken word performance may contribute copyrightable authorship to the sound recording. Generally, the performance and production are considered a single, integrated work. In some cases, however, the main or sole contribution may be production authorship (as in a recording of bird songs, where there is no human performance) or the main contribution may be performance authorship (as in a recorded performance where the only production involved is to push the “record” button).

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