The applicant must provide the name and address of the owner or co-owners of the copyrightable authorship that is claimed in the application. This party is known as the copyright claimant. The claimant(s) may be the author(s) of the work, or a party that owns all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to the author of that work. If the author and the claimant are not the same person, the applicant should provide a brief statement that explains how the claimant acquired the rights that initially belonged to the author.
When completing an online application the applicant should provide this information on the Author and Claimant screens; when completing a paper application the applicant should provide this information on spaces 2 and 4. For guidance on completing these portions of the application, see Chapter 600, Sections 613 and 619.
Website owners frequently assume that they own the copyright in code or other content that was created for them by an independent contractor, because the owner paid for the content or paid the contractor to create that material. In such cases, the website owner does not own the content unless the contractor agreed to create the content pursuant to a work made for hire agreement or executed a written agreement that assigned the copyright in that material to the website owner. Likewise, a website owner cannot assert a claim in website content if the owner merely owns a physical copy of that content or merely has a nonexclusive license to use that material.
• Kari Crow is a web designer who created an illustration for a gardening website. Kari is not an employee of the website owner and she did not transfer ownership of the copyright to that party. Therefore, the applicant should name Kari Crow as the author and claimant for this illustration. If Kari contributed multiple illustrations to the website, each illustration must be registered separately.
• Dizzy Dog LLC owns and operates a website that sells dozens of beats for use on hip hop tracks. The company employs two producers who created these beats for the website. Dizzy Dog LLC should be named as the author and claimant for each work, and in each case the work made for hire box should be checked “yes.”