Sound Recordings and Radio Broadcasts
Sound recordings protect recorded sounds, both musical and non-musical. It includes recorded music, songs, audio books, sound effects, audio recordings of speeches & interviews, audio podcasts, soundtracks etc.
Radio broadcasts of sound recordings are protected by a separate category. For example, when a song is played on the radio that song is protected as a sound recording, but an additional & separate copyright is created in the broadcast. A recording of a radio broadcast would be protected as both a sound recording and a broadcast.
Sound recordings and broadcasts may also include underlying literary, dramatic or musical works, such as a script, written speech or interview, book (e.g. to be read aloud as an audio book), song lyrics, play, or sheet music. Written music, e.g. scores, has its own category with its own requirements and limitations - see Musical Works for more information. Lyrics, transcripts and scripts of sound recordings are protected under Literary Works. Each of the underlying works will have their own copyright and are protected separately.
Sound Recordings are protected regardless of their format, e.g. mp3 or audio file, CD, audio cassette or tape, vinyl record, reel to reel tapes, cartridges etc.
Using Sound Recordings & Radio Broadcasts
You can use films or television broadcasts for certain purposes such as educational use, research or study or criticism or review. For more information, see Using Copyright Material.
Copyright in sound recordings is generally owned by the 'maker' of the sound recording. The term 'maker' usually refers to the person who owns the equipment the recording was made on, such as the production company, studio, or record label. However, performers in the sound recording may also own copyright in the sound recording - for more information see Performances.
Ownership also varies depending on factors such as employment, licensing agreements. See Ownership of Copyright for more information.
Copyright in a radio broadcast (but only the broadcast, not the underlying sound recording) will be owned by the broadcaster, i.e. the station on which it was aired.
The copyright owner of a sound recording will only own copyright in sounds of the recording. They will not necessarily own copyright in the underlying works included in the recording such as the lyrics or notated music. These will generally be owned by the creators of these works unless there is an agreement assigning or transferring copyright.
Rights of Copyright Owners
Copyright owners of sound recordings hold the right to perform, reproduce, communicate or enter into a commercial rental agreement for the sound recording.
Copyright owners of radio broadcasts hold the right to record or make copies of the broadcast, rebroadcast or communicate the broadcast.
Performers, such as musicians and singers, in sound recordings and broadcasts will also have performer's rights.
For more information, see Rights of Copyright Owners.
Duration of Copyright
Duration of copyright in the underlying works and the performers' rights will affect duration in sound recordings.
|Published Recordings||Unpublished Recordings*||Copyright Expired If...|
|Sound Recordings||70 years after the end of the first year published|
Copyright lasts perpetually or until the material published.
*As of 1 January 2019, the duration of copyright will be the same for both published and unpublished works.
|Created before 1 January 1955|
|Note on Duration in Sound Recordings|
Copyright in films or broadcasts made for, or first published by a government, or in which copyright is owned by a government, lasts for 50 years from the end of the year of first publication.
|Created before 1 May 1969||Created after 1 May 1969|
|Broadcasts||No copyright protection. However, the underlying works in the broadcasts - music, sounds, scripts etc - would have had protection as musical works; literary works, and sound recordings.||50 years after the end of the year the first broadcast was made.|
|Notes on Duration in Broadcasts|