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Recommendations for Changes to the United States Copyright Law

READ Legal Impediments to Preservation of and Access to the Audio Heritage of the United States [pdf]

HRCAP has recommended five specific changes in U.S. copyright law to assure that our rich audio heritage is preserved and accessible and that it remains available for generations to come, while protecting the legitimate interests of the artists and enterprises that created this national treasure.

A detailed description of these recommendations and the reasons for them can be found in the document above. In summary, the five recommendations are:

  1. Place pre-1972 U.S. recordings under a single, understandable national law by repealing the provision that keeps all pre-1972 recordings under state law until 2067. This was essentially accomplished by the 2018 Music Modernization Act.
  2. Harmonize the term of coverage for U.S. recordings with that of most foreign countries, i.e. a term of between 50 and 75 years.
  3. Legalize the use of orphan recordings, those for which no owner can be located.
  4. Permit and encourage the reissue by third parties of "abandoned" recordings, those that remain out of print for extended periods, with appropriate compensation to the copyright owners. A limited start was made on the last two points by the Music Modernization Act, however it permits only non-profit streaming, and even that can be forbidden by an owner. All uses should be permitted.
  5. Change U.S. copyright laws to allow the use of current technology and best practices in the preservation of sound recordings by non-profit institutions.