Sound Recording Copyrights

Fifty years ago today, the Sound Recording Act of 1971 went into effect, extending federal copyright protection to sound recordings.  A sound recording is a derivative work of the preexisting musical work, and to obtain a copyright in a sound recording one must secure a license from the copyright owner of the musical work. 

The 1971 Act was passed to create uniform federal protection against unauthorized

duplication of sound recordings. A 2007 study cited by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) “pegs the annual harm” from music piracy “at $12.5 billion dollars in losses to the U.S. economy as well as more than 70,000 lost jobs and $2 billion in lost wages to American workers.”

Here are links from Wikipedia to record labels, web sites, and bands distributing free music:

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