Copyright Compendium

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1111.3 (E) The Author and Claimant for Each Work Must Be the Same Individual

1111.3 (E) The Author and Claimant for Each Work Must Be the Same Individual


The text that appears in each work must be written by the same individual. If the text was co-written by two or more individuals, then each and every work in the group must be jointly created by those same individuals.


For example, an applicant may submit 10 articles written solely by Joanna. Likewise, an applicant may submit 10 articles written jointly by Joanna and Chip.


By contrast, an applicant may not register fifteen blog posts written solely by Joanna together with seven blog posts written jointly by Joanna and Chip. Likewise, the same application may not be used to register fifteen social media posts written by Joanna and the comments on each post that were written by Luis. In each case, the applicant would need to separate the works into different groups and submit a separate application for each group: One application for the fifteen posts written solely by Joanna; a separate application for the seven posts written jointly by Joanna and Chip; and a separate application for the comments written solely by Luis.


The U.S. Copyright Office will strictly enforce this requirement. If the author information for each and every work is not the same, the registration specialist will refuse to register the entire claim.


In all cases, the author or joint authors must be named as the copyright claimant for each work in the group. For instance, if an applicant submitted five essays written solely by Chanda, that individual must be named as the claimant for each work. If an applicant submitted 20 essays co-written by Chanda and Caleb, those individuals must be named as the co-claimants for each work.


To be clear, the author or joint authors must be named as the claimant or co-claimants for all of the works being registered – ” even if the author(s) no longer own any of the rights in those works.


This facilitates the examination by allowing the registration specialist to focus on the works themselves, rather than the ownership of each work. Moreover, it is consistent with the basic principle that an author may always be named as the copyright claimant, and the Office’s longstanding view that an author may be named as a claimant even if that person does not own any of the exclusive rights when the claim is submitted. 37

C.F.R. § 202.3 (A) (3) (I); Applications for Registration of Claim to Copyright under Revised Copyright Act, 42 Fed. Reg. 48,944, 48,945 (Sept. 26, 1977).


If another person or entity has acquired the copyright in one or more of the works, the copyright owner may add that information to the public record by recording the assignment, exclusive license, or other document that identifies the current owner of the works.


See 37 C.F.R. § 202.4(j) (3); Group Registration of Short Online Literary Works, 85 Fed. Reg. 37,341, 37,343-44 (June 22, 2020).

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