Copyright Compendium

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Chapter 2400

1802.7 (B) Ownership Issues

1802.7 (B) Ownership Issues


A supplementary registration cannot be used to reflect the division, licensing, or transfer of rights in the work. Likewise, a supplementary registration cannot be used to reflect a change in the ownership of the copyright that occurred on or after the effective date of registration for the basic registration. 37 C.F.R. § 202.6 (D) (4) (I).


If the rights in the work have been divided, licensed, or transferred, or if there has been a change in ownership since the application for basic registration was made, the applicant should not submit an application for supplementary registration. Instead, the applicant should record the assignment, license, or other legal document that transferred the copyright from one party to another.


Recording certain documents “gives all persons constructive notice of the facts stated in the recorded document,” and it may have other important consequences in the event that there is a conflicting transfer involving the same work. See 17 U.S.C. § 205 (C)- (E). A supplementary registration does not provide these benefits. See Corrections and Amplifications of Copyright Registrations; Import Statements; and Recordation of Documents, 43 Fed. Reg. 771, 771 (Jan. 4, 1978).


Examples:


• Lorraine Pelowicz and Jody Keppler registered a song naming themselves as the co-claimants of the work. They subsequently submit an application for supplementary registration stating that Lorraine currently owns the publishing rights and that Jody currently owns the right to perform the work in public. The application will be refused. Instead, Lorraine and Jody should record the legal agreement that divided the ownership of the copyright between the parties.


• Tonya Greenleaf registered a blog naming herself as the author and claimant for this work. She subsequently submits an application for supplementary registration stating that she assigned the copyright in this work to the Pom Pom Publishing Company. The application will be refused. Instead, Tonya should record the assignment with the U.S. Copyright Office.


• Kimberly Browning registered a photograph naming herself as the author and claimant for this work. She subsequently submits an application for supplementary registration stating that she licensed this image to a photo library two days after she submitted her application for basic registration. The Office will not issue a supplementary registration. Instead, Kimberly should record the legal document that licensed her image to the photo library.


For guidance concerning the practices and procedures for recording a transfer or other document with the Office, see Chapter 2300.

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