When should phonographic copyright ARs be added at recording level vs. release level?

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I get stumped on this issue: when should phonographic copyright ARs be added at recording level and when should they be added at release level? I find no explanation in documentation.
Here’s 2 distinct release examples:
★ by David Bowie at recording level
Out for Blood by Lita Ford at release level

Would appreciate elucidation :slight_smile:

The relationship guidelines would apply here as well I imagine, so:

  1. If the relationship is applicable to all tracks on a release, apply it to every work or recording on the release.
  2. If the relationship applies to only a few tracks, and you know which ones, apply it only to those works or recordings.
  3. If you are unsure which tracks a relationship applies to, put it at release level. A basic effort to determine to which tracks the relationship is applicable is appreciated.

Thanks @reosarevok, I actually did read that guideline before posting :wink:
Now I feel more confident about adding at recording level :smile:
But did the editor who added the ARs at release level add it this way because he was unsure or because he assumes it’s the way it should be inputted, as say, manufactured and copyright ARs are? You see, that’s where one stumbles…
Should I advise the editor to add at recording level instead?

I think in general, the assumption should be that if the relationship is available at recording level, it should follow those guidelines. There are a few exceptions (for example, because of attributes: “executive producer” is just an attribute for “producer” but should probably be release-level only or at least mostly) but it seems like a reasonable basis, and maybe we should specifically indicate any exceptions in the appropriate relationship pages.

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I’ll advise the editor then. May I use your words? :stuck_out_tongue:

FWIW, I tend to agree with hibiscus’s edit note. Phonographic copyright might change over the lifetime of the mb-recording. Unless we can confidently attach begin/end dates to the recording-level ARs, shouldn’t we keep the ARs at release-level?

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Where is the edit note you mention?
If we set begin=end=printed year, each release using that recording can enrich with a new relationship, no problem having several info.

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Oh, sorry, edit #37850161.

About that date discussion, BTW, I’ve noticed we should put all discuss in that other “STYLE-607: Copyright / Phonographic copyright dates” stylish topic. :wink:

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So basically are you saying the decision to add Phonographic copyright ARs at recording level is dependent on one being confident to know begin/end dates? Aren’t dates optional?
I don’t agree with you here. At release level if one isn’t sure which tracks a relationship applies to (point 3 role at the track vs. the release level).

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It would be useful to have a guideline for adding the phonographic copyright relationship to recordings. There may be recordings in the database where companies who’ve licensed a recording are being incorrectly credited as copyright holders. Since this relationship stores legal information, the accuracy of the data should be especially important.

When a release prints Ⓟ2017 LABEL or ARTIST, we add this info on all recordings, even if another release says differently.
We accumulate info.
©2017 this/that is added at release level.
And MB is not legally responsible for accuracy of copyright info.

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What @jesus2099 said!! See point #6 of our social contract:

No warranty or liability for errors: There is no warranty for the content of the MusicBrainz database or the software. It is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind for correctness or completeness.

We ask people to not rely (solely) on MB data for legal or monetary matters, but obviously we can’t stop people if they insist on doing so. However, MB’s data is never guaranteed to be correct or complete. (E.g., if people find out some company is using MB data as their only/primary basis for making payments, they can just make an MB account themselves and assign themselves/their own label/company as rightsholder for some popular songs.)

TL;DR: Don’t rely on MB’s data for monetary or legal matters.


Do you mean you always add Ⓟ to recordings and not releases? It seems that there are still many editors that still use the label-release relationship, but I don’t know how they are determining which one to use. Some clarification would be helpful.
This edit note suggests adding the original Ⓟ date to the recording, but not Ⓟ dates from later compilations.

Hmm. I hadn’t seen that interpretation before, not sure I agree with it. @fmera, what’s the reasoning?

While I could very well change my mind with further discussion, right now I’d expect every Ⓟ date to go on the recordings, except for cases where a compilation or whatnot has something like Ⓟ 1978, 1982 and doesn’t specify which year is for what.

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I usually put the relationship on the release since I’m not clear on the specifics of how it’s supposed to work. On the release it will still be stored and linked and is far better than putting it in the annotation, even though it’s less specific than putting it directly on the recordings. (I’d rather be more vague and 100% correct, than more specific and possibly wrong, so I’m adding the relationships in a “conservative” fashion. :slight_smile:)


firstly, because that is what the legal notice printed on the release would actually state: eg…

“This compilation ℗ 2016 Sony Music Entertainment …” — it specifically tells you that the phonographic copyright year refers to the compilation. often, though not always, such compilations might further detail the individual ℗ dates of the tracks (which invariably would be earlier than that of the compilation ℗ year), so those would apply to the associated recordings, and would be true for all other releases those recordings are also included in.

if we added all compilation ℗ years to the recordings, and we have various different compilations from different sources over the years, it would be rather confusing, especially when they likewise would show up in all other releases that include those same recordings.

it’s a judgment call, but i feel it’s a sensible one based on those considerations. if there were ever any indication that a single date shown on the release applies individually to all the tracks/recordings (let’s say we know it’s a studio album), then of course it would be a different case.

the other aspect one might point out is that of the renewal of copyrights, but then, i believe those have a set or even predictable number of years of validity to them. eg back in the day, it was 28 yrs renewal up to 56 yrs, though i’m less sure what the current status on copyrights protection is. but i don’t think it’s a situation where copyrights of original sound recordings are just randomly ‘updated’ every time a new compilation is released.

perhaps we could consider each distinct compilation as an aggregated recording of its own, comprising all of those individual tracks/recordings (much as we already do with compiled/composite recordings vs. the component recordings that are compiled within them). so the ℗ year applies to that compilation as if it were just another “recording”; and so that date doesn’t apply to the original individual recordings that are included in it. i hope that makes sense.

Not true.

My view is that track copyright information is… a release track - label relationship. Not a recording - label relationship.

So everyone agrees that the relationship should be put at release level when it says « This compilation ℗ 1234 ABCD » ?


I didn’t remember your post, sorry, @fmera.
Or maybe I was not really convinced yet.

“Compilation ℗2017 Company Name” isn’t that company claiming any rights to the individual tracks. They’re claiming rights to the compilation (the selection & ordering of the tracks) only. See, e.g., page 4 of Circular 56, “Copyright Registration for Sound Recordings”:

Compilation of Sound Recordings · A “compilation” is a work formed by collecting and assembling preexisting materials that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original
work of authorship.

When an author contributes a certain minimum amount of authorship in the selection and ordering of preexisting sound recordings, the author produces a copyrightable compilation. The copyright in the compilation of recordings is separate and distinct from copyright (if any) in the recordings themselves. It extends only to the selection and ordering of the recordings on the disc or tape.

That’s probably more or less worldwide via copyright treaties.

Since it’s “separate and distinct from copyright in the recordings themselves” that AR goes on the release not the recordings.

(Ok, you could argue it goes on the release group, not the release, in many cases. Not sure if MB allows that.)