The U.S. Copyright Office has rejected a request by members of Led Zeppelin to renew the copyright for its 1973 Atlantic album "Houses of the Holy," listing the band as owners.
The U.S. Copyright Office has rejected a request by members of Led Zeppelin to renew the copyright for its 1973 Atlantic album "Houses of the Holy," listing the band as owners, Billboard Bulletin reports. Instead, the Office gave the renewal to Atlantic, which has held the copyright since the recording's release and has shipped 11 million copies, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
Under current law, authors of works from that era can apply for a renewal of copyright after 30 years, for a total term of 95 years.
The Copyright Office says it returned the copyright to Atlantic because the recording's registration lists it as a work made for hire. The album predates the current Copyright Act of 1976, and therefore falls under the rules of the Copyright Act of 1909. The earlier law did not delineate categories of works made for hire; the Copyright Office's decision was therefore based solely on the registration description provided by Atlantic. Categories of works made for hire were outlined in the updated 1976 Copyright Act.
"Houses of the Holy," the follow-up to the group's landmark fourth album, spent two weeks at No. 1 on The Billboard 200. It featured the singles "Dyer Maker" (No. 20) and "Over the Hills and Far Away" (No. 51).
The surviving members of Led Zeppelin and the wife of the late John Bonham applied for the renewal in December 2001. Due to postal impediments following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Copyright Office didn't process the request for renewal for five months, and issued the judgment May 31.
According to sources, the ownership issue will now be negotiated between Led Zeppelin's lawyers and Atlantic. Representatives for the label could not be reached for comment by deadline.