Copyright Compendium

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211 Registration Refused After Examination

211 Registration Refused After Examination


The U.S. Copyright Office registers claims to copyright and issues certificates of registration only if the material deposited constitutes copyrightable subject matter and the applicant appears to meet the legal and formal requirements set forth in the Copyright Act, the Copyright Office regulations, and the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices. See 17 U.S.C. § 410 (A).


If the Office finds that the work is not copyrightable or that the applicant has not met the legal and formal requirements for copyright registration, the Office will refuse to register the claim and will specify the reasons for its decision. The Office will notify the applicant by sending a written communication signed or initialed by the registration specialist or supervisor assigned to the claim. The communication will be mailed to the address provided in the Correspondent field/space of the application. For examples of situations in which the Office will refuse to register a claim because of a failure to meet the legal and/or formal requirements, see Chapter 600, Section 608, and Chapter 1500, Section 1503.2.


An applicant may appeal a refusal to register a copyright claim. For more information on the appeals process, see Chapter 1700.


An applicant may institute a civil suit for copyright infringement even if the Office has refused to register a claim, provided that the applicant satisfies the requirements set forth in Section 411 (A) of the Copyright Act. For information concerning this topic, see Chapter 1700, Section 1706.