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

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1807.4 (D) Registrations Cancelled for Substantive Defects in the Registration


1807.4 (D) Registrations Cancelled for Substantive Defects in the Registration


If the U.S. Copyright Office registers a work that appears to be copyrightable but subsequently determines (I) that the statutory requirements for registration were not met, (ii) that essential information was not provided in the application, (iii) that the essential information provided in the application appears to be questionable, or (iv) that the correct deposit copy(ies) were not submitted, the Office may communicate with the correspondent and/or the copyright claimant.


In such cases, the Office will send the communication 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 communication to the copyright claimant named in the basic registration 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 and 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 Office will describe the substantive defect in the registration and will ask the correspondent to submit the required information, to submit the correct deposit copy(ies), or to clarify the information provided in the application. See 37 C.F.R. § 201.7 (C) (4). In addition, the Office will advise the correspondent that the registration may be cancelled if the defect is not resolved.


The correspondent will be given thirty days from the date set forth in the communication to resolve the defect in the registration. 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 written 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’s written response resolves the defect, the Office will correct the registration record and may issue a new certificate of registration with a new registration decision date and effective date of registration, if appropriate. If the correspondent fails to respond within thirty days, or if, after considering the written response, the Office determines that the defect has not been resolved, the Office will cancel the registration. See 37 C.F.R. § 201.7 (C) (4).


Examples of substantive defects that may prompt the Office to cancel a registration under § 201.7 (C) (4) of the regulations include:


• The work is not eligible for copyright protection in the United States under Section 104 of the Copyright Act.


• The work was registered based on a claim in material added to a preexisting work, but the application as a whole indicates that the new material is not copyrightable.


• The author of the work is neither anonymous nor pseudonymous, but the author cannot be identified because there is a substantial variance between the information provided in the application and/or the deposit copy(ies).


• The application does not identify the copyright claimant, or it appears from the transfer statement that the claimant named in the application does not have the right to claim copyright.


• The copyright claimant cannot be adequately identified because there is a substantial variance between the information provided in the application or the information is unclear.


• The work was published in the United States before March 1, 1989, and none of the exceptions set forth in Section 405 (A) of the Copyright Act apply.


• The work was published in the United States before January 1, 1978, but the deposit copies do not contain a copyright notice or the notice is defective.


• The Office issued a renewal registration for a work registered or first published in the United States before December 31, 1963, but the renewal application was submitted before or after the statutory time limit.


• The Office issued a registration for a group of related works, but subsequently determines that the applicable requirements for that option have not been met.


• The application and the deposit copy(ies) do not match each other, and the copy(ies) described in the application cannot be located elsewhere in the Office or the Library of Congress.


• The work was published in violation of the manufacturing provisions of the copyright law as it existed before July 1, 1986.


See 37 C.F.R. § 201.7 (C) (4) (I)-(xi).


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