Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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Chapter 2400

2409 Certification of U.S. Copyright Office Records


2409 Certification of U.S. Copyright Office Records


A certification is an official statement from the U.S. Copyright Office attesting to the authenticity of the records and/or search reports specified in the certification. In most cases, a certification consists of a copy of one or more of the Office’s records or the relevant portions of those records, and a statement certifying that the record is a true representation of what it purports to be.


Certifications are issued under the name of the Register of Copyrights. They bear the official seal of the U.S. Copyright Office and the date that the certification was issued. For an image of the current seal, see Chapter 100, Section 101.4.


The Office has changed the appearance of its seal over time. See Notice of New Copyright Office Seal, 68 Fed. Reg. 71,171 (Dec. 22, 2003); New Copyright Office Seal, 42 Fed. Reg. 64,747 (Dec. 28, 1977). A certification issued under a prior seal is valid, notwithstanding the fact that the Office currently uses a different seal.


A record that lacks the official seal of the U.S. Copyright Office and/or the name of the Register of Copyright is not validly certified. In particular, records bearing the seal of the Library of Congress or any seal other than that used by the U.S. Copyright Office are not validly certified records of the U.S. Copyright Office.


The specific types of records that may be certified by the Office are discussed in Section 2409.2 below.


See generally 17 U.S.C. § 701 (C) (“The Register of Copyrights shall adopt a seal to be used on and after January 1, 1978, to authenticate all certified documents issued by the Copyright Office.”).


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