from the worth-asking dept
As we’ve discussed in the past, works created by the federal government are automatically in the public domain under section 105 of US copyright law:
Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.
So… that would suggest that musical works created by the federal government should be in the public domain, right? And… according to the Times of London, the performance of the Star Spangled Banner by Beyonce at President Obama’s inauguration, was actually pre-recorded by the Marine Corp. Band, and then lip synced by Beyonce. Last we checked, the Marine Corp. Band is a part of the US government, meaning that recordings it creates should be in the public domain.
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:
A copy of the backing track used during Beyonce’s Inauguration performance, as well as copies of other backing tracks created in preparation for Inauguration events, whether or not they were actually used.
The existence of these documents was disclosed by a spokeswoman for the Marine Corp Band to The Times of London
The performance by Beyonce could still be covered by copyright, since she is not an employee of the government, but that backing track almost certainly should be in the public domain. Of course, it’s unclear to me if, even if the track is in the public domain, the federal government has an obligation to hand it over as part of FOIA request, but it seems like it’s at least reasonable to ask.