PLine and CLine

DDEX messages can provide P and C lines for different entities. While both have the same structure, they have different legal meaning.

 Background to ℗ Notices

The Ⓟ Notice

The purpose of a ℗ notice is to signify that rights exist in a sound recording (or "phonogram", hence "P" notice) and to identify the owner of those rights.

℗ notices should be displayed on all copies of the sound recordings  - both physical and digital - that are issued to the public. Typically ℗ notices are included in the cover art of CDs, DVDs and other media (and may be displayed on the discs themselves).  For digital copies, the ℗ notice should be included within the metadata associated with the file.  They can also be used on digital services that sell or distribute sound recordings.

In its correct form, a ℗ notice should appear as the symbol "℗" displayed alongside:

  1. the year the sound recording was first released anywhere in the world;  and

  2. the name of the rights owner, i.e. the current owner of the rights in the original sound recording/masters.

℗ 2007 XYZ Record Company Limited

The use of accurate ℗ notices is important and errors can waste time and resources when it comes to exploiting the recording or enforcing the rights in it.

℗ notices are used to:

  • Assist users (e.g. commercial radio broadcasters) to identify who is entitled to be paid for use of a particular sound recording; and

  • simplify the evidentiary requirements for pursuing copyright infringers, resulting in reduced legal costs and time.  In many countries using an accurate ℗ notice should remove the need to produce artist agreements, production records, or other documentation to prove ownership.

 Background to © Notices

The © Notice

While ℗ notices are unique to sound recordings, the ©, or copyright, notice is used to signify copyright in a range of works other than sound recordings.  In the case of music, the © notice is usually used in reference to copyright in the cover artwork, inlay cards, and other printed material included with CDs or DVDs or in relation to artwork displayed on websites. © notices can also be used in relation to the underlying musical composition and lyrics. 

Similarly to ℗ notices, a © notice should consist of the symbol "©" displayed alongside:

  1. the year of first publication of the copyright work anywhere in the world; and

  2. the name of the rights owner, i.e. the current owner of the copyright in the relevant work.

© 2007 XYZ Record Company Limited

℗ and ©

As ℗ and © notices each refer to different rights (Ⓟ to rights in sound recordings and © to rights in artwork or musical compositions), it is important that the notices are kept separate and are not confused.

Even if the rights in the sound recordings and in the artwork is owned by the same company it is best to use separate notices:

℗ 2007 XYZ Record Company Limited
© 2007 XYZ Record Company Limited

Structure of the DDEX PLine and CLine composites

The Pline and Cline composites have three sub-elements and one or two attributes:

  • An optional element for the year of release/publication;

  • An optional element for the name of the rights owner;

  • A mandatory field for the complete Pline or Cline (i.e. the concatenation of the above two elements);

  • An optional XML attribute for the language and script used (if different from the rest of the message);

  • An optional type which can be OriginalPLine or RemasteringPLine (only for Plines).

It is possible to communicate multiple Plines and Clines side by side. In most cases, the only data element used is the mandatory field for the complete Pline or Cline.

If a PLine or CLine composite is used, it must contain the specific characters designed to represent a P or C line, i.e. the circled P (℗) or the circled C (©). If it is not possible to use these special characters, they can be represented in these composites by "(P)" and "(C)" respectively.

One P/C Line for each Creation

As a default, a maximum of 

  • one Pline should be communicated for each Sound Recording or Video;

  • one Cline should be communicated for each Video; 

  • one Cline should be communicated for each Release.

In some circumstances it may be necessary to have multiple Pline or Cline composites to provide information for different countries and, especially, different languages and/or scripts.
For each country/language/script there may, however, be only one Pline or Cline for each Sound Recording, Video or Release, respectively. 

Pline and Cline composites in DDEX Messages

Use not mandatory

Though the use of a copyright notice is no longer required by copyright treaties or national laws, it can bring legal benefits. The use of either a ℗ or a © notice is optional in DDEX ERN messages and can be communicated using the PLine and CLine composites.

Clines for Covers and Videos 

The © notice for a cover art shall be communicated in the CLine tag in the Image composite whereas the CLine tag in the Release composite shall only be used to signal the copyright notice for the creation of the Release itself.

The same applies to Videos: the CLine composite on Video provides the © notice for the video itself, and the CLine on the Release composite would provide the copyright notice for the creation of the Video Release itself.

 Example of a ©-Line for an Album, Video, Cover Art and Screenshot (ERN-4 excerpt)

                <CLineCompany>Company that owns the video</CLineCompany>
                <CLineText>© 2015 Company that owns the video</CLineText>
                <CLineCompany>Company that owns the cover art</CLineCompany>
                <CLineText>© 2016 Company that owns the cover art</CLineText>               
                <CLineCompany>Company that owns the screen shot</CLineCompany>
                <CLineText>© 2016 Company that owns the screen shot</CLineText>               
                <CLineCompany>Company that put the Release together</CLineCompany>
                <CLineText>© 2020 Company that put the Release together</CLineText>
                    <LinkedReleaseResourceReference LinkDescription="CoverArt">A2</LinkedReleaseResourceReference>
                    <LinkedReleaseResourceReference LinkDescription="VideoScreenCapture">A3</LinkedReleaseResourceReference>
Recommended Guidelines for the use of ℗ Notices in DDEX Messages

Owner not licensee

℗ notices identify the owner of the rights in the original sound recording (the masters) at the time that the CD/carrier/file is manufactured.  Licensees (whether or not exclusive) can also be named in the ℗ notice, but only after identification of the owner.


℗ 2007 XYZ Record Company Limited, under exclusive licence to Exclusive-Licensee Co Limited for the UK


℗ 2007 Exclusive-Licensee Company Limited

Full corporate entity name not label name

Where the rights owner is a record company, the ℗ notice should include the corporate name of the company (or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognised or a generally known alternative designation) and not the name of a label or division where that is not a legal entity that owns the rights.


℗ 2007 XYZ Record Company Limited


℗ 2007 XYZ Record Company
℗ 2007 XYZ Records

Date of first publication/release not re-release

℗ notices signify the year when the sound recording was first released for commercial sale to the public anywhere in the world and not the date of re-issue, re-release or manufacture


Where a release is a compilation of previously released recordings each track must have its own ℗ notice.  If the year of first release and the rights owner are the same for a number of tracks they can be grouped together as long as they are clearly identified. A ℗ notice should not be used for the compilation itself.


Tracks 1, 2, 5 and 11 ℗ 2005 XYZ Record Company Limited
Tracks 3 and 6 ℗ 1999 XYZ Record Company Limited
Tracks 7-10 ℗ 2005 ABC Record Company Limited


 All Tracks ℗ 2005 XYZ Record Company Limited


 ℗ 2007 XYZ Record Company Limited