Copyright Duration is fairly complicated in the United States because it changed so often. The duration of copyright depends on what year it was published, where it was published, and sometimes whether or not the person who published it is still alive. It also depends on whether a person gave notice (which just means putting "© YEAR NAME" on the work) or renewed the work (which can be found in the same publication as the registrations). Please note that this is not the full list of durations, but a summary of the most common durations referenced. Please see the Cornell Guide (below) for a more in-depth coverage of copyright duration.
Copyright Durations in the United States:
Copyright duration for sound recordings has changed in the last year due to the passing of the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (or Music Modernization Act or MMA for short). Title II of this law covers the protection of sound recording pre-1972, which were not federally protected previously. Here are the current durations for sound recordings in the United States. As above, please consult the Cornell Guide to Copyright Durations at the top of the page for a more in-depth view on copyright durations, as this will only cover the basics.
Please note that all durations only apply to the sound recording itself , which is separate from the copyright duration for the composition or text within the recording:
For sound recordings published abroad, see the Cornell Guide to Copyright Duration linked above.