Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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1607 Examination Guidelines


1607 Examination Guidelines


Because a preregistration does not constitute prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright or the facts stated in the notification of preregistration, the registration specialist conducts only a limited review of an application for preregistration. Specifically, the specialist will ascertain whether the work described in the application falls within one of the classes of works that have had a history of infringement prior to authorized commercial release (as determined by the Register of Copyrights) and whether the applicant provided all of the necessary information specified in the application.


As a general rule, the registration specialist will not pass judgment on the adequacy of the written description of the work. However, the description is an important part of the preregistration record, and it is important to recognize that this record cannot be corrected, amended, or supplemented once the U.S. Copyright Office has issued a notification of preregistration. See Section 1612. In an action for infringement of a preregistered work, the court may evaluate the written description to determine whether it actually describes the work that allegedly has been infringed, taking into account the information available when the application was submitted and taking into account the applicant’s legitimate interest in protecting confidential information concerning the work.


See 37 C.F.R. § 202.16 (C) (6)- (7); see also Preregistration of Certain Unpublished Copyright Claims, 70 Fed. Reg. 42,286, 42,289-90 (July 22, 2005).


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