17 U.S. Code § 402 - Notice of copyright: Phonorecords of sound recordings
A special notice requirement, applicable only to the subject matter of sound recordings, is established by section 402. Since the bill protects sound recordings as separate works, independent of protection for any literary or musical works embodied in them, there would be a likelihood of confusion if the same notice requirements applied to sound recordings and to the works they incorporate. Like the present law, therefore, section 402 thus sets forth requirements for a notice to appear on the “phonorecords” of “sound recordings” that are different from the notice requirements established by section 401 for the “copies” of all other types of copyrightable works. Since “phonorecords” are not “copies,” there is no need to place a section 401 notice on “phonorecords” to protect the literary or musical works embodied in the records.
In general, the form of the notice specified by section 402(b) consists of the symbol “℗”; the year of first publication of the sound recording; and the name of the copyright owner or an admissible variant. Where the record producer’s name appears on the record label, album, sleeve, jacket, or other container, it will be considered a part of the notice if no other name appears in conjunction with it. Under subsection (c), the notice for a copyrighted sound recording may be affixed to the surface, label, or container of the phonorecord “in such manner and location as to give reasonable notice of the claim of copyright.”
There are at least three reasons for prescribing use of the symbol “℗” rather than “©” in the notice to appear on phonorecords of sound recordings. Aside from the need to avoid confusion between claims to copyright in the sound recording and in the musical or literary work embodied in it, there is also a necessity for distinguishing between copyright claims in the sound recording and in the printed text or art work appearing on the record label, album cover, liner notes, et cetera. The symbol “©” has also been adopted as the international symbol for the protection of sound recordings by the “Phonograms Convention” (the Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms, done at Geneva October 29, 1971), to which the United States is a party.
1988—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 100–568, § 7(b)(1), (2), substituted “General provisions” for “General requirement” in heading, and “may be placed on” for “shall be placed on all” in text.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 100–568, § 7(b)(3), substituted “If a notice appears on the phonorecords, it” for “The notice appearing on the phonorecords”.
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 100–568, § 7(b)(4), added subsec. (d).
Amendment by Pub. L. 100–568 effective Mar. 1, 1989, with any cause of action arising under this title before such date being governed by provisions in effect when cause of action arose, see section 13 of Pub. L. 100–568, set out as a note under section 101 of this title.