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

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1702 Registration Refused After Examination


1702 Registration Refused After Examination


The U.S. Copyright Office does not register all claims to copyright. The Office may refuse to register claims that do not meet the statutory requirements for copyright registration, including on the following grounds:


• The applicant failed to submit a complete application, complete filing fee, and/or complete deposit copy(ies).


• The work is not fixed in a tangible medium of expression.


• The work lacks human authorship.


• The applicant asserts a claim to copyright in a work that is not covered by U.S. copyright law. See 17 U.S.C. §§ 102, 103.


• The work was not independently created.


• The work lacks the minimum level of creative authorship to support a copyright claim.


• The work is in the public domain.


• The work is a sound recording that was fixed before February 15, 1972 (i.e., the date on which sound recordings became eligible for federal copyright protection).


• NOTE: The Orrin G. Hatch – ” Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (“MMA”) provides owners of pre-1972 sound recordings with certain protections and remedies for copyright infringement if their recordings are used without authorization. To exercise these remedies, owners typically must file schedules with the U.S. Copyright Office listing their sound recordings and specifying the name of the rights owner, title, and featured artist for each recording. 17 U.S.C. § 1401 (F) (5) (A). Additional information concerning the MMA and instructions on how to file a schedule is available on the Office’s website.


• The work is an architectural work created before December 1, 1990 (i.e., the date on which architectural works became eligible for federal copyright protection), or the application to register the architectural work does not otherwise meet the requirements set forth in Copyright Office regulations. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.11.


• The work is ineligible for copyright protection in the United States based on the author’s citizenship or domicile, based on the nation of first publication, or any other factor set forth in Section 104 of the Copyright Act.


• The work does not meet the eligibility requirements for a particular registration option.


• The applicant is not authorized to register a claim in the work.


• The claimant named in the application is not a proper copyright claimant.


• The work unlawfully employs preexisting material that is under copyright protection. See 17 U.S.C. § 103 (A); see also Chapter 300, Section 313.6 (B).


• The applicant failed to submit a bona fide copy of the work. See Chapter 1500, Section 1503.2.


If the Office determines that the work does not constitute copyrightable subject matter or that the other formal and legal requirements have not been met, the Office will refuse to register the claim. The registration specialist assigned to the application will notify the applicant in writing and will explain the reasons for the Office’s decision. See 17 U.S.C. § 410 (B). The Office will send the notification to the correspondent listed in the Correspondent section of the application.


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