Copyright Compendium

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Chapter 2400

1405.6 The One Owner Requirement

1405.6 The One Owner Requirement


The Single Application may be used to register one work by one author if that individual is the sole owner of the copyright in that work, and if the applicant satisfies the other eligibility requirements for this form.


An applicant may not use the Single Application if the copyright or any of the exclusive rights in the work are owned or co-owned by two or more individuals. This form may not be used if the copyright is owned by a company, an organization, or other legal entity. It may not be used if the author transferred the copyright or any of the exclusive rights to a third party, either by written agreement or by operation of law. Likewise, this form may not be used if the author is deceased. (For a discussion of copyright ownership and transfers, see Chapter 600, Sections 619 and 620.)


The following are representative examples of works that cannot be registered with the Single Application, because they are owned or co-owned by more than one party, or because the works are not solely owned by the author:


• One stage play co-owned by the composer and the librettist of the work.


• One song written by a composer who transferred the copyright to his music publishing company.


• One sound recording co-owned by the artists and musicians who performed the work.


• One article written by a freelance writer who assigned the copyright to her closely held company.


• A published novel by an author in which the publisher has acquired an exclusive license in the right of reproduction and distribution.


• One photograph taken by a photographer who granted the exclusive right of reproduction to a stock photography service and therefore no longer owns all of the rights in the work.


• One treatment written by a screenwriter who gave a motion picture studio the exclusive right to produce his work as a motion picture and therefore no longer owns all of the rights in the work.