The Copyright Act of 1976 is a United States law spelling out the basic rights of copyright holders. It codifies the doctrine of “fair use,” and adopts for most new copyrights a unitary term based on the date of the author’s death rather than the prior scheme of fixed initial and renewal terms. It protects musical works including songs and any accompanying words as well as orchestral works, librettos, and other musical compositions. A separate copyright protects individual recordings of musical compositions.
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