Copyright Compendium

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Chapter 2100
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2131 Corrected Original Registration Records

 

2131 Corrected Original Registration Records

 

The Copyright Act of 1909 did not provide for correction of registration records, but U.S. Copyright Office regulations allowed the Office to correct its own errors. Initially, most errors (other than Office errors) were addressed by recording a document against the registration record. Later the Office made other corrective actions available to applicants, including corrective registration and filing a new basic registration. The appropriate use of these corrective actions depended on whether the work was published or unpublished and the effect the error had on the validity of the original registration record.

 

The Copyright Act of 1976 provided for supplementary registration, which then became the primary means of correcting and amplifying registration records, including original registration records for works that secured copyright under the 1909 Act. 17 U.S.C. § 408 (D).

 

Generally, it is no longer possible to correct or amplify information in an original registration record for works that secured copyright protection under the 1909 Act, because the original term has expired. See Supplementary Registration, 81 Fed. Reg. 86,656, 86,660 & n.23 (Dec. 1, 2016). In an exceptional case, the Office may accept an application to correct or amplify the information in this type of registration if it is supported by clear, convincing, and objective documentation. 37 C.F.R. § 202.6 (D) (6). In such cases, the Office may require the applicant to record the supporting documents.

 

The Office will refuse to issue a supplementary registration if the applicant attempts to change the original copyright claimant, the identity of the work, or the publication information or status of the work, because this could affect the validity or duration of the copyright or the validity of the original registration record. Likewise, the Office typically will refuse to issue a supplementary registration if the applicant attempts to make similar changes in a renewal registration record. Id. § 202.6 (D) (5).

 

When a renewal claim is based on an original registration record that refers to, or is cross-referenced with a corrective action, the effect on renewal registration generally depends on the corrective action. Typically, the Office will not register a renewal claim based on an original registration record that was corrected by a corrective registration; rather, the renewal claim will be based on the corrective registration, because it generally superseded the original registration. By contrast, when an original registration record was corrected by supplementary registration, a renewal claim cannot be based on the supplementary registration record, because a supplementary registration cannot supersede an original registration. Similarly, when a document was recorded to add or correct information in an original registration record, the Office will take that information into consideration and will inform the applicant of the recorded document when it appears the applicant is unaware of it.

 

NOTE: When a renewal claim is based on an original registration record that is cross- referenced with a supplementary registration, or refers to a corrective registration or a recorded document, the Office will add an annotation to the certificate of renewal registration and a note in the renewal registration record regarding the registration or recordation.

 

For information regarding a renewal registration based on uncorrected original registration records, see Section 2130. For information about filing a renewal claim with new or different information from the original registration record, see Section 2134. For information about correcting or amplifying the information in a renewal registration record, see Section 2138.