Copyright Compendium

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Chapter 100
Chapter 200
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Chapter 1900
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Chapter 2100
Chapter 2200
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Chapter 2400

1903 The Significance of Publication


1903 The Significance of Publication


Publication is an important concept for works created or first published after January 1, 1978 for a number of reasons:


• If the work has been published, the date and nation of first publication should be provided in the application to register that work with the U.S. Copyright Office. See 17 U.S.C. § 409 (8). For guidance in completing this portion of the application, see Chapter 600, Sections 612 and 617.


• The deposit requirements for registering a published work differ from the requirements for registering an unpublished work. For information concerning these requirements, see Chapter 1500, Sections 1503 and 1505.


• Works first published in the United States may be subject to mandatory deposit with the Library of Congress. For information concerning the mandatory deposit requirements, see Chapter 1500, Section 1511.


• The year of publication may determine the length of the copyright term for a work made for hire. For a definition and discussion of works made for hire, see Chapter 500, Section 506.


• The year of publication may determine the length of the copyright term for an anonymous work or a pseudonymous work, unless the author’s identity is revealed in records maintained by the U.S. Copyright Office. For a definition and discussion of anonymous works and pseudonymous works, see Chapter 600, Sections 615.1 and 615.2.


• The year of publication may determine the length of the copyright term if the work was created before January 1, 1978, and was first published between January 1, 1978 and January 1, 2003. See 17 U.S.C. § 303 (A).


• A certificate of registration constitutes prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright and the facts stated in the certificate of registration, provided that the work is registered before or within five years after the work is first published. 17 U.S.C. § 410 (C).


• The copyright owner may be entitled to claim statutory damages and attorney’s fees in an infringement lawsuit, provided that the work was registered before the infringement began or within three months after the first publication of the work. See 17 U.S.C. §§ 412, 504 (C), 505.


• Many of the exceptions and limitations set forth in Sections 107 through 122 of the Copyright Act may be impacted depending on whether the work is published or unpublished. See, e.g., 17 U.S.C. §§ 107, 108, 115, 118, and 121.


• As a general rule, U.S. works first published in the United States before March 1, 1989 must be published with a valid copyright notice. Failing to include a valid notice on a U.S. work published during this period may invalidate the copyright in that work. For a detailed discussion of these notice requirements, see Chapter 2200, Sections 2203 through 2207.


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