If Sonny Bono weren't dead, I'd kill him

If you had any question as to whether the copyright extension was a travesty, here's a gem I came across while looking for some music to stick in a podcast:

Sound Recording Rule of Thumb:
There are NO sound recordings in the Public Domain in the USA.

Records, cassettes, CD's, and other music recordings come under a general category called Sound Recordings or Phonorecords. The publication of Sheet Music placed a song or musical work under copyright protection. Sound recordings, however, were protected by a hodge-podge tangle of state laws, but were not covered under Federal copyright law. It was even determined that there was no federal criteria to actually "publish" a sound recording. This was fixed with the 1972 US copyright act which officially "published" all sound recordings in existence on February 15, 1972, and 75 years of copyright protection was enacted for essentially every sound recording created in 1972 or earlier. (1972 + 75 years = 2047). The Sony Bono Act of 1998 extended all copyright protection an additional 20 years. Therefore, the earliest that copyright protection will expire for any sounding recording in the USA is 2067 (2047 + 20 years = 2067).
Presented by

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

What LBJ Really Said About Selma

"It's outrageous what's on TV. It looks like that man is in charge of the country."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What LBJ Really Said About Selma

"It's going to go from bad to worse."

Video

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Inside a family's fight to use marijuana oils to treat epilepsy

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

More in Business

Just In