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

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803.8 (B) Joint Authorship

803.8 (B) Joint Authorship

Sound recordings are often created by multiple performers and/or producers as joint authors. For example, a recording of a song might be jointly authored by the members of a band, or a singer and producer might be joint authors of the recording, depending on the authors’ intent.

Generally, where there are multiple authors of a sound recording, the sound recording is a joint work and the applicant should name all the authors of that work. In such cases, the authors’ contributions are not subject to separate registrations. There may be instances, however, where different tracks of a sound recording were created as independent works, such as when a preexisting beat track is sampled in a song. In such cases, the beat track and the sound recording of the song should be registered separately – one as a derivative of the other.

For further discussion of joint works, see Chapter 500, Section 505.

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