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Georgetown Law Library

Music Law Research Guide

This guide provides resources relevant to legal issues commonly faced by artists and the music industry, such as copyright, licensing, and antitrust law.

Contents

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Finding Cases

For information on researching U.S. case law generally, see Georgetown Law Library's Case Law Research Guide or the Case Law Research Tutorial. Additional sources for finding court opinions dealing with music law include the following:

Major Music Law Statutes

For information on researching U.S. statutory law generally, see Georgetown Law Library's Statutes Research Guide or the Statutory Research Tutorial. Major statutes dealing with music law include the following:

  • Title 17 of the United States Code contains the text of current federal copyright law. The following is a selected list of important copyright statutes:
    • Copyright Act of 1909, Pub. L. No. 60-349, 35 Stat. 1075 (1909)
    • Sound Recording Act of 1971, Pub. L. No. 92-140, 85 Stat. 391 (1971)
    • Copyright Act of 1976, Pub. L. No. 94-553, 90 Stat. 2541 (1976)
    • Telecommunications Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-104, 110 Stat. 56 (1996)
    • Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Pub. L. No. 105 - 304, 112 Stat. 2860 (1998)
    • Enforcement of Intellectual Rights Act of 2008 (Pro-IP Act), Pub. L. No. 110-403, 122 Stat. 4256 (2008)
       
  • Title 15 of the U.S. Code contains the text of three major antitrust statutes:
    • Sherman Antitrust Act, ch. 647, 26 Stat. 209 (1890)
    • Clayton Act, ch. 323, Pub. L. No. 63-212, 38 Stat. 730 (1914)
    • Federal Trade Commission Act, ch. 311, 38 Stat. 717 (1914)
       
  • Other statutes:
    • Trademark Act of 1946 ("Lanham Act"), ch. 540, Pub. L. No.79-489, 60 Stat. 427 (1946)
    • California Civil Code Section 3344 (Right of publicity)
    • California Penal Code Section 653w (Failure to disclose origin of recording or audiovisual work)
    • New York Civil Rights Law Sec. 50 &51 (Right of privacy and action for damages)

Major Music Law Regulations

For information on researching U.S. regulations generally, see Georgetown Law Library's Administrative Law Research Guide or the Administrative Law Tutorial.

Select federal regulations relevant to the music industry include:

  • 37 C.F.R. secs. 200-299
    Regulations promulgated by the Copyright Office, Library of Congress.
     
  • 37 C.F.R. secs. 300-399
    Regulations promulgated by the Copyright Royalty Board, Library of Congress.
     
  • 47 C.F.R. secs. 70-79
    Regulations promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission dealing with broadcast radio services.