U.S. copyright law Edit

(P) (also called P in a circle) is the designation indicating copyright protection for sound recordings stored on phonorecords. Section 402 of the U.S. Copyright Act provides that:

Whenever a sound recording protected under this title is published in the United States or elsewhere by authority of the copyright owner, a notice of copyright as provided by this section may be placed on publicly distributed phonorecords of the sound recording.[1]

The form of the notice is designated in 17 U.S.C. §402(b):

If a notice appears on the phonorecords, it shall consist of the following three elements:
(1) the symbol P (the letter P in a circle); and
(2) the year of first publication of the sound recording; and
(3) the name of the owner of copyright in the sound recording, or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner; if the producer of the sound recording is named on the phonorecord labels or containers, and if no other name appears in conjunction with the notice, the producer’s name shall be considered a part of the notice.[2]

The notice shall be placed on the surface of the phonorecord, or on the phonorecord label or container, in such manner and location as to give reasonable notice of the claim of copyright.[3]

There are at least three reasons for prescribing use of the symbol "(P)" 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 "(P)" has also been adopted as the international symbol for the protection of sound recordings by the "Phonogram Convention" . . ., to which the United States is party.[4]

References Edit

  1. 17 U.S.C. §402(a).
  2. Id. §402(b).
  3. Id. §402(c).
  4. H.R. Rep. No. 1476, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. 145 (1976).

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