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Sound recording copyright symbol

Not to be confused with the characters Ⓟ or ⓟ. See Enclosed Alphanumerics.
Sound recording copyright symbol
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The sound recording copyright symbol, represented by the graphic symbol ℗ (a circled capital letter P), is the copyright symbol used to provide notice of copyright in a sound recording (phonogram) embodied in a phonorecord (LPs, audiotapes, cassettes, compact discs, etc.).[1] The use of the symbol originated in United States copyright law[2] and is specified internationally in the Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms.[3]

The P stands for phonogram,[4][5] the legal term used in most English-speaking countries to refer to works known in U.S. copyright law as "sound recordings".[6]

A sound recording has a separate copyright that is distinct from that of the underlying work (usually a musical work, expressible in musical notation and written lyrics), if any. The sound recording copyright notice is a copyright for just the sound itself, and will not apply to any other rendition or version, even if performed by the same artist(s).

In the United States, the sound recording copyright notice, which may only be affixed to a phonorecord, consists of three elements:

  1. the ℗ symbol;
  2. the year of first publication of the sound recording; and
  3. an identification of the owner of the copyright, either by name, abbreviation or other designation by which it is generally known. The identification can be omitted if the owner is the sound recording's producer, and the producer is identified on associated packaging.[2]

The symbol in Unicode is Template:Unichar, with the alternative names "published" and "phonorecord sign".[7] It closely resembles Template:Unichar and Template:Unichar[8]

The symbol was introduced in 1971, essentially simultaneously in both domestic United States law and international treaty.

In the United States, it was added by the Sound Recording Amendment (SRA), Pub. L. No. 92-140, § 3, 85 Stat. 391, 392 (1971). This statute was enacted October 15, 1971, effective February 15, 1972. It amended the 1909 Copyright Act by adding protection for sound recordings, and it prescribed a copyright notice for sound recordings:

(c) In section 19, title 17, of the United States Code, add the following at the end of the section: "In the case of reproductions of works specified in subsection (n) of section 5 of this title ["Sound recordings"], the notice shall consist of the symbol ℗ (the letter P in a circle), the year of first publication of the sound recording, and 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: Provided, That if the producer of the sound recording is named on the labels or containers of the reproduction, and if no other name appears in conjunction with the notice, his name shall be considered a part of the notice."

See also


  1. ^ U.S. Copyright Office Circular 3
  2. ^ a b Act of Oct. 15, 1971, Pub. L. No. 92-140, 85 Stat. 391, § 1(c), now codified at 17 U.S.C. § 402
  3. ^ Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms, done at Geneva, October 19, 1971, Article 5
  4. ^ Fishman, Stephen (2012). Public Domain: How to Find & Use Copyright-Free Writings, Music, Art & More. Nolo Press. p. 358. ISBN 9781413317213. 
  5. ^ Lee, Robert E. (1995). A Copyright Guide for Authors. Kent Press. p. 70. ISBN 9780962710674. 
  6. ^ Statement of Marybeth Peters, United States Register of Copyrights, before the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, Committee on the Judiciary (July 31, 2007)
  7. ^ Unicode, Inc. (2012). "Letterlike Symbols; Range: 2100-214F" (PDF). In Allen, Julie D. et al. The Unicode Standard, Version 6.1. ISBN 9781936213023. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  8. ^ Unicode, Inc. (2012). "Enclosed Alphanumerics; Range: 2460-24FF" (PDF). In Allen, Julie D. et al. The Unicode Standard, Version 6.1. ISBN 9781936213023. Retrieved July 20, 2012.