The issue of pre-1972 sound recordings-devoid of federal copyright protection-has emerged as an important legal issue with changes in how musicians are collecting royalties for music. Sound recordings have a complicated and fragmented history under United States copyright law. While recognized as a separate form of creative work from musical compositions since the early twentieth century, they nonetheless remained unprotected as separate works under federal law until 1972. Any sound recordings fixed prior to February 15, 1972, however, remain unprotected under federal law and are subject to common law copyright or state statutes. A majority of states, including Georgia, lack statutes and a body of common law that could adequately guide courts on what rights exist in these pre-1972 sound recordings, if any. This Note will evaluate the historical distinction between musical compositions and sound recordings under copyright law before turning to a survey of three state law approaches to sound recordings: New York common law, North Carolina statutory law, and California statutory law. This Note will ultimately conclude that the most legally sound approach for states like Georgia is to adopt a statute comparable to the California statute on pre-1972 sound recordings.
Bradford, Payton M.
"(Don't) Give It Up or Turnit A Loose: State Law Copyright Protection of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings in Blank-Slate Jurisdictions Like Georgia,"
Georgia Law Review: Vol. 49:
3, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/glr/vol49/iss3/5