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1604.2 Uses of Preregistration

1604.2 Uses of Preregistration


A preregistration is not a registration. Nor is it a substitute for a registration. It “serves only as a preliminary step prior to a full registration.” Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. 139 S. Ct. at 888 (internal quotation omitted).


As discussed in Section 1604.1, preregistration allows certain copyright owners to satisfy the requirements of Sections 411 (A) and 412 of the Copyright Act by notifying the U.S. Copyright Office that the work is being prepared for commercial distribution. Copyright owners may benefit from this procedure if they have started to create a work of authorship that has not yet been completed, and if it is likely that a third party may infringe that work before it has been released to the public. But to preserve the benefits of this procedure, the copyright owner must seek an actual registration for the work promptly after it has been published or infringed. See id. at 888.


There are certain features that preregistration does not possess. Unlike a registration, a preregistration does not constitute prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright or the facts stated in the application for preregistration or in the notification of preregistration. Moreover, the fact that a work has been preregistered does not create any presumption that the Office will register the work if the applicant subsequently submits an application for registration. 37 C.F.R. § 202.16 (C) (13); see also Preregistration of Certain Unpublished Copyright Claims, 70 Fed. Reg. 42,286, 42,286, 42,289-90 (July 22, 2005).


Preregistration is neither a prerequisite nor a precondition for copyright owners who wish to register their works with the Office. In other words, an original work of authorship may be registered regardless of whether that work has been preregistered or not.


If an applicant submits an application to register a work that has been preregistered, the application may or may not be assigned to the same registration specialist who examined the application for preregistration. However, the specialist will not compare the information provided in the application for registration with the preregistration record to determine whether it is consistent with the information provided in the application for preregistration.

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