Copyright Compendium

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1807.4 (C) Registrations Cancelled for Lack of Copyrightable Authorship

1807.4 (C) Registrations Cancelled for Lack of Copyrightable Authorship


If the U.S. Copyright Office issues a registration and subsequently determines that the work appears to be uncopyrightable, the Office will issue a notice of intent to cancel the registration. The notice will be issued in writing and it will specify the reason(s) for cancelling the registration.


The Office will send the notice to the correspondent named in the registration record (including any supplementary registrations that have been cross-referenced with the basic registration). In addition, the Office will send a copy of the notice to the copyright claimant(s) at the address specified in the registration record. The Office will not search its records to determine if the claimant has transferred the copyright to another party. Likewise, the Office will not contact authors, claimants, or owners of exclusive rights who are not listed in the certificate of registration, even if the Office has reason to believe that they may be adversely affected by the Office’s decision.


The correspondent will be given thirty days from the date set forth in the notice to show cause in writing why the registration should not be cancelled. See 37 C.F.R. § 201.7 (C) (4). If the deadline falls on a weekend, a holiday, or any other nonbusiness day within Washington, DC or the federal government, the deadline will be extended until the next federal work day. 17 U.S.C. § 703. If a response was sent in a timely manner, but arrived in the Office after the relevant deadline, the Office may apply the regulation on postal disruptions to determine the timeliness of the response. See 37 C.F.R. § 201.8 (B).


If the correspondent fails to respond within thirty days, or if, after considering the correspondent’s written response, the Office determines that the work is not copyrightable, the Office will cancel the registration. See 37 C.F.R. § 201.7 (C) (1).

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