803.8 (F) (1) Sounds Published on Both a Soundtrack Album and in a Motion Picture
Where the same sounds are published on both a soundtrack album and as part of a motion picture, the registration requirements vary depending on whether the soundtrack album or the motion picture was published first. The statutory definition of sound recording specifically excludes the sounds accompanying a motion picture. 17 U.S.C. § 101. Thus, if the sounds were first published on a soundtrack album, they are considered a sound recording and cannot be registered as a motion picture. If the sounds were first published in a motion picture, they are considered the sounds accompanying a motion picture and cannot be registered as a sound recording.
If the soundtrack album was published before the motion picture, the applicant may register the sound recording without excluding any material that may be subsequently published in the motion picture. If the applicant subsequently submits an application for the motion picture, the portions of the sound recording that appeared on the soundtrack album should be excluded from the claim.
If the motion picture was published before the soundtrack album, the applicant may register the motion picture together with the sounds contained therein, provided that the copyright in the motion picture and the sounds are owned by the same claimant. The applicant may submit a separate application for the soundtrack album, provided that the album contains sounds or other copyrightable authorship that did not appear in the motion picture. In this situation, the sounds that appeared in the motion picture should be excluded from the claim. If the soundtrack album merely reprocessed sounds from the motion picture without change there would be no basis for registering the soundtrack album.