Copyright Compendium

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Chapter 2100
Chapter 2200
Chapter 2300
Chapter 2400

1604.1 Preregistration Is a Temporary “Placeholder” for an Actual Registration

 

1604.1 Preregistration Is a Temporary “Placeholder” for an Actual Registration

 

A preregistration is merely a placeholder for or a prelude to an actual registration. Specifically, a preregistration allows a copyright owner to institute an infringement action “before the Register has granted or refused registration” if: (I) the work has been preregistered prior to publication, and (ii) the work is registered within three months after its first publication. Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp., 139 S. Ct. at 892. However, if an infringement occurred within two months after the first publication of the work, the application, deposit, and filing fee must be received in proper form within one month after the copyright owner learned of the infringement or within three months after the first publication of the work (whichever is earlier). See 17 U.S.C. §§ 408 (F) (3), 411 (A), 412.

 

If a preregistered work is not registered within the prescribed time period, a district court must dismiss any action involving an infringement that occurred before or within two months after the first publication of that work. See 17 U.S.C. § 408 (F) (4). If the infringement began more than two months after the first publication of a preregistered work, this rule does not apply. In other words, the failure to register a preregistered work before the deadline specified in Sections 408 (F) (4) (A) and (B) of the Copyright Act will not prevent a copyright owner from registering that work and pursuing an infringement action, provided that the infringement occurred more than two months after the first publication of that work. See generally Preregistration of Certain Unpublished Copyright Claims, 70 Fed. Reg. 42,286, 42,286-87, 42,290 (July 22, 2005); Preregistration of Certain Unpublished Copyright Claims, 70 Fed. Reg. 61,905, 61,905 (Oct. 27, 2005).