The U.S. Copyright Office has issued its summary report on U.S. Copyrights which maintains copyright protection for pre-1972 Copyrights thru 2067, as long as they remain available for sale. As we had reported to you previously, pre-1972 Copyrights are currently under individual state jurisdictions but the U.S. Copyright Office has proposed that they come under federal jurisdiction which has created a concern regarding accelerated copyright termination dates.
The Copyright Office released their report on Pre-1972 Sound Recordings and while they do propose federalization, as opposed to keeping them under state jurisdiction, for post-1923 Copyrights the termination date remains 2067. Pre-1923 copyrights would be limited to a 25 year copyright extension.
The proposal is basically a ‘use it or lose it” situation where you need to keep your music “publicly available” to keep copyright protection thru 2067 (easy enough in the digital age) with a transition period of six to ten years to ensure all materials are available. The onerous part of this might be the initial, and potential ongoing, copyright office registration process. That said, overall this result is favorable and we’ll see if we need to file comments on our registration concerns.
For copies of the Copyright Office’s executive summary and the complete report see the links below: