Can recording artists use the termination rights provisions of the Copyright Act to terminate the rights of their record labels to use the artists’ master recordings? While that question might remain debatable for recordings made from 1978 to 1999, there is not much doubt that the answer to the question will be “no” for recordings made after 1999.

On November 29, President Clinton signed into law an amendment to the Copyright Act that adds sound recordings to the list of commissioned works that can be works made-for-hire by agreement. The amendment went through as part of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999, which was Title I of the Intellectual Property and Communications Omnibus Reform Act of 1999 (S. 1948). Section 1011(d) of the legislation simply states:

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