The applicant should provide the full name of the author or authors of the work on the Authors screen. For the purposes of preregistration, the author is the person or organization who is expected to be named as the author when (and if) the applicant submits an application to register the work.
As a general rule, the author is the person (or persons) who actually created the material covered by the copyright claim. See Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730 (1989) (“[T]he author is the party who actually creates the work, that is, the person who translates an idea into a fixed, tangible expression entitled to copyright protection.”). However, there is an exception to this rule. If the work described in the application for preregistration is a work made for hire, the person who created that work is not necessarily the author. Instead, the employer or other person for whom the work was prepared is considered the author if:
• The work was created by an employee acting within the scope of his or her employment, or
• The work was specially ordered or commissioned as a work made for hire and fits within one of the nine categories of works listed in the statutory definition.
17 U.S.C. § 101 (definition of “work made for hire”). For a general discussion of Works Made for Hire, see Chapter 500, Section 506.
If the work is expected to be published as a pseudonymous work, the applicant may provide the author’s real name or the author’s pseudonym (or both). A work is considered to be a pseudonymous work if the author will be identified on copies or phonorecords of the work under a fictitious name and the author’s real name will not appear anywhere on the copies or phonorecords. If the author’s real name is expected to appear anywhere on the copies or phonorecords, the work is not considered a pseudonymous work, even if the author does not wish to reveal his or her identity in the preregistration record and even if the author is generally known by his or her pseudonym. In this situation the author’s real name should be provided in the application. For a detailed discussion of pseudonymous works, see Chapter 600, Section 615.2.