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News

Mar
2008
US ISRC Agency Bulletin
ISRC Encoding/Decoding CDs, MP3s, etc.(2008/03)
Feb
2008
ISRC International Agency Bulletin
ISRC Assignment to Spoken Word Recordings(2008/02)
Feb
2007
ISRC International Agency Bulletin
Registrant Codes for Licensed Recordings(2007/02)
Mar
2006
ISRC International Agency Bulletin
Assigning Meaning to ISRC Elements(2006/03)
Feb
2006
ISRC International Agency Bulletin
Access to ISRC Registrant Codes(2006/02)

ISRC Encoding/Decoding CDs, MP3s, etc.(2008/03)

US ISRC Agency Bulletin

18 July 2008 - The International ISRC Agency announces that it is undertaking a study of technologies for encoding and decoding ISRC in CDs and music files. It intends to publish an up to date list of applications that are able to encode ISRCs (such as would be used in professional mastering studios and by independent artists) and applications that are able decode them (such as might be used by broadcasters or to verify that ISRCs have been correctly encoded). If appropriate it will also provide such guidance on how to use these applications with ISRC.

Submissions from vendors that produce applications which they think should be included on these lists are invited to contact the International ISRC Agency at isrc@ifpi.org.

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ISRC Assignment to Spoken Word Recordings(2008/02)

ISRC International Agency Bulletin

16 June 2008 - The International ISRC Agency confirms that ISRC can be assigned to spoken word recordings and other non-musical recorded audio.

Each National ISRC Agency may allocate Registrant Codes for the purpose of ISRC assignment to spoken word and other non-musical audio recordings using existing allocation procedures. No additional information is required of the Registrant or of the National ISRC Agency.

While the International ISRC Agency strongly recommends that companies or artists should be allowed to use any Registrant Code previously allocated to them to assign ISRCs for non-musical sound recordings, each National ISRC Agency can establish their own regulations concerning Registrant Code allocation to suit national circumstances.

Prospective Registrants may find an ISRC useful or necessary in digital distribution of their spoken word or non-musical recorded content. In the instance of spoken word recordings, the ISRC is not intended to replace the assignment of an ISBN. Where an ISBN identifies product, the ISRC identifies the recording that is embodied in that product, regardless of the format on which it is used.

Registrants should normally assign one ISRC to each of the smallest units of content into which a whole recording is divided. This will be a chapter or a CD track in most instances.

These procedures will be incorporated into the ISRC Handbook in due course.

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Registrant Codes for Licensed Recordings(2007/02)

ISRC International Agency Bulletin

13 July 2007 - The International ISRC Agency announces today that Registrants may apply for and be allocated a Secondary Registrant Code for use with licensed content.

Users of the ISRC system may find that they wish to license recordings to which an ISRC has not been assigned because the Licensor is unable or unwilling to do so. National ISRC Agencies may, on request, allocate a single Secondary Registrant Code to these Registrants, so that they can themselves assign ISRCs to such recordings.

This provision is intended to be used sparingly and the use of a separate Secondary Registrant Code will allow the National and International ISRC Agencies to monitor and manage its use.

National ISRC Agencies should ensure that such Registrants adhere to the following procedures:

1. The Registrant should make good faith efforts to contact the Licensor to determine whether ISRCs have been assigned to the licensed recordings. They should, for instance, check written documentation and encoded data fields in the recording, and query relevant industry databases to determine whether an ISRC has already been assigned.

2. The Registrant should make good faith efforts to report the newly assigned ISRCs to the Licensor immediately following assignment and inform them that the assigned ISRCs should be used in further exploitation of the recording. The Licensor should be referred to their local National ISRC Agency for further information.

3. The Registrant should ensure that the tracks are registered with their newly assigned ISRCs in the relevant industry database, showing the Licensor as the owner.

When a request for a Secondary Registrant Code is made, National ISRC Agencies should allocate the next Registrant Code in their sequence - requests for 'vanity' or 'hand-picked' Secondary Registrant Codes are not recommended. National Agencies must also report Secondary Registrant Codes to the International Agency immediately follow allocation. The codes should be submitted via email to isrc@ifpi.org with the following information:

1. Registrant Name
2. Contact(Person)
3. Address
4. Phone
5. Email
6. Primary Registrant Code
7. Secondary Registrant Code
8. Date of allocation of Secondary Registrant Code

These procedures will be incorporated into the ISRC Handbook in due course.

Enquiries about this arrangement may be addressed to:

International ISRC Agency
c/o IFPI
10 Piccadilly
London W1J 0DD
United(Kingdom)
ISRC@(ifpi.org)
www.ifpi.org/isrc

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Assigning Meaning to ISRC Elements(2006/03)

ISRC International Agency Bulletin

8 August 2006 - The International ISRC Agency reminds users of the ISRC system that it is inappropriate and indeed unwise to attempt to infer anything from the individual elements of an ISRC.

ISRC is designed, constructed and operated as a 'dumb number'; the individual elements that make up a full code are not intended to convey any meaning to a user of the code. Though it is tempting to make these inferences which will sometimes be valid, serious errors with business and financial consequences can result.

Where repertoire changes hands no new ISRC is assigned so assumptions can be very dangerous.

An ISRC is defined in the ISO document ISO 3901:2001 and is constructed of four elements:

Country code:
Country of registrant as two character ISO 3166 code
e.g. FR [i.e. France]

Registrant code:
Three character code assigned by national ISRC Agency
e.g. Z03

Year of reference:
Two digit year of allocation of ISRC
e.g. 97 [i.e. 1997]

Designation code:
Five digit serial number of recording
e.g. 00212

The Country Code indicates the country where the Registrant is based. This may be the country of the label allocating the ISRC but may be the country of an agent working on their behalf. It may be the location of the headquarters of a multinational company. It is not necessarily the country where the recording was made, where the artist is based or where royalties are collected. If repertoire has changed hands, it may bear no relation to any of the above.

The Registrant Code is the code of the original registrant. This may or may not be the current rights owner. If repertoire has changed hands it may very well not be.

The Year of Reference is the year in which the ISRC was assigned. It says nothing about the year of recording, first release in a particular territory or later re-release. It is most unwise to assume that it is the year of recording for the purpose of calculating copyright expiry as this will usually be inaccurate for historical recordings which have had an ISRC assigned quite recently. (Note: practice under an earlier version of the standard was to use the year of recording but this should no longer occur and in any case will be unreliable).

The elements of an ISRC are designed to ensure that no assigned ISRC is the same as any other assigned ISRC. That is all they do and to assume otherwise is hazardous.

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Access to ISRC Registrant Codes(2006/02)

ISRC International Agency Bulletin

6 April 2006 - The International ISRC Agency reminds National ISRC Agencies that they should not normally disclose Registrant Codes to third parties.

The Registrant Code is the element of the ISRC which is assigned by the National ISRC Agency to the entity that wishes to allocate ISRCs to recordings. Its role is to ensure that every allocated ISRC is unique, without the need for a central database of allocated ISRCs.

The Registrant Code does not have any significance once the ISRC has been allocated. The ISRC Handbook states:

...when the [ISRC] code is being used, it is the whole [code] that represents the sound or music video recording and no significance should be accorded to any one element. In particular, the Registrant Code cannot be assumed to identify a current rights owner as the recording may have changed hands since code allocation.

It is unhelpful to allow third parties access to records of assigned Registrant Codes as this will tend to reinforce a false perception that the current owner of a recording can be inferred from the Registrant Code that was used when the ISRC was allocated.

However, National ISRC Agencies should obviously respond to legitimate court orders and if there are circumstances where they feel that disclosure of the identity of a Registrant would be beneficial, they should approach the International ISRC Agency for assistance.

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