Copyright Compendium

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2205.2 (E) Deceased Person Named in the Notice

2205.2 (E) Deceased Person Named in the Notice

A deceased person cannot own copyright or any other property. If the work was published during the owner’s lifetime and the name provided in the notice was correct, and if the work is submitted for registration after the owner’s death, the applicant must name the owner of all rights at the time the application is submitted for registration and provide a transfer statement explaining how that party obtained ownership of the copyright.

If the U.S. Copyright Office has reason to believe that the person named in the notice died before the first publication of the work, the Office will treat this as an error in the notice. If the publication was authorized by the copyright owner, the error will not affect the validity or ownership of the copyright in the work. However, it may allow a third party to assert an innocent infringement defense unless one of the following events has occurred:

• The work was registered in the name of the copyright owner before the alleged infringement began; or

• A document executed by the person named in the notice showing the ownership of the copyright was recorded before the alleged infringement began.

See 17 U.S.C. § 406 (A).

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