Copyright Compendium

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2116.5 (B) (3) Identifying Material

2116.5 (B) (3) Identifying Material

In exceptional circumstances, the U.S Copyright Office may accept identifying material when it is not possible to provide a complete copy of the work as first published. In such cases, the applicant should provide the following, in addition to the identifying material:

21 The option to grant special relief in such cases represents a change of policy that took effect with the publication of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition.

• A written request for a grant of special relief from the deposit requirement with an explanation of why a complete copy as first published cannot be deposited;

• Material obtained directly from a copy of the work as first published that properly identifies the work and its contents, and shows the work was first published with the statutory or U.C.C. notice; and

• A detailed description of how the deposit material differs from the work as first published, and how much of the original content is contained in the deposited material.

In each case, the Office will consider the specific circumstances in determining whether renewal registration should be made, even though the deposit requirement is not met. If identifying material is accepted, the Office will register the renewal claim under a grant of special relief when the damage, change, or revision in the deposit material is minimal, separate from, and does not include any portion of the authorship in which renewal is claimed and the work met all other statutory requirements to secure the full original term of copyright. If the situation is otherwise, the Office will either refuse renewal registration, or register the renewal claim under the rule of doubt with an annotation on the certificate of renewal registration and a note in the renewal registration record explaining that the deposit material does not comply fully with renewal registration requirements.22

NOTE: When it is not known or cannot be determined that the identifying material contains a representative amount of the copyrightable content, or it is not possible to distinguish between the copyrightable content contained in the work as first published and the revisions or changes in the deposit material, the Office will not accept identifying material.

NOTE: When a renewal claim is filed under expedited handling due to pending or prospective litigation, or when the renewal claim is adverse to another renewal claim in process or already on the record, if alternative deposit material is deposited, it must be identical to the complete work as first published. In such cases, the Office will not accept identifying material. Generally, in adverse situations, the deposit material cannot be, or be taken from, an infringing copy. For information regarding adverse renewal claims, see Section 2137.