Copyright Compendium

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1402.2 Statutory Requirements for Applications

 

1402.2 Statutory Requirements for Applications

 

Section 409 of the Copyright Act states that “[t]he application for copyright registration shall be made on a form prescribed by the Register of Copyrights.” 17 U.S.C. § 409. Although the Register of Copyrights has been given discretion in how to organize and establish the requirements for the Standard Application and paper applications (which are discussed in Sections 1403 and 1404 below), Section 409 also sets forth certain elements that must be contained in these forms:

 

1. The name and address of the copyright claimant;

 

2. In the case of a work other than an anonymous or pseudonymous work, the name and nationality or domicile of the author or authors, and, if one or more of the authors is dead, the dates of their deaths;

 

3. If the work is anonymous or pseudonymous, the nationality or domicile of the author or authors;

 

4. In the case of a work made for hire, a statement to this effect;

 

5. If the copyright claimant is not the author, a brief statement of how the claimant obtained ownership of the copyright;

 

6. The title of the work, together with any previous or alternative titles under which the work can be identified;

 

7. The year in which creation of the work was completed;

 

8. If the work has been published, the date and nation of its first publication; and

 

9. In the case of a compilation or derivative work, an identification of any preexisting work or works that it is based on or incorporates, and a brief, general statement of the additional material covered by the copyright claim being registered.

 

17 U.S.C. § 409(1-9). The statute also allows the Register to request additional information in the application. Specifically, it grants the Register broad authority to require “any other information [that] bear[s] upon the preparation or identification of the work or the existence, ownership, or duration of the copyright.” Id. § 409 (10).

 

The Office offers other applications that request some – but not all – of the information listed in Section 409, such as the Single Application (which is discussed in Section 1405). These specialized forms do not request all of the information listed in Section 409, because in order to use them certain types of information cannot be present in the claim. For example, an applicant cannot use the Single Application to register a work created by an individual author who transferred his or her copyright to another party. Thus, there is no need to request “a brief statement of how the claimant obtained ownership of the copyright” in this form.

 

Section 408 (C) (1) of the Copyright Act authorizes the Register to establish an administrative procedure for registering a group of related of works. Section 408 (D) authorizes the Register to establish a procedure for issuing a supplementary registration to correct or amplify the information given in an existing registration. And Section 408 (F) (1) authorizes the Register to establish a procedure for issuing a preregistration for unpublished works that are being prepared for commercial distribution.

 

Congress gave the Register the discretion to develop an appropriate application for these types of records. See 17 U.S.C. § 408 (C) (1), (D), (F) (1). The specific requirements for the various group registration options that the Office currently offers are discussed in Chapter 1100, the requirements for a supplementary registration are discussed in Chapter 1800, and the requirements for preregistration are discussed in Chapter 1600.