405 Applications Filed by or on Behalf of the Author
An author is either (I) the person or persons who created the work, or (ii) the employer or other person for whom the work was prepared, if the work was created during the course of employment or commissioned as a work made for hire. The author may be either a U.S. or a foreign citizen.
If the author owns all of the rights under the copyright on the date that the application is filed, the author must be named in the application as the copyright claimant. The author or the author’s duly authorized agent may certify and submit an application to register that claim. In the situation where the author certifies and submits the application, the author is considered both the applicant and the claimant. If the author’s duly authorized agent certifies and submits the application, the author is still the claimant but the author’s agent is considered the applicant.
The author may always be named as the copyright claimant even if the author has transferred the copyright or one or more of the exclusive rights to another party, or even if the author does not own any of the rights at the time the application is filed. See generally Registration of Copyright: Definition of Claimant, 77 Fed. Reg. 29,257, 29,258 (May 17, 2012); Registration of Claims to Copyright, 43 Fed. Reg. 965, 965 (Jan. 5, 1978).
If the author transferred all of the rights in a work to another party, either the author or the transferee may be named as the copyright claimant, and the application may be submitted by the author, the transferee, or their respective agents. If the author transferred only some of his or her rights to another party, the author must be named as the copyright claimant, and the application to register the copyright in the author’s name may be filed by any of the parties listed in Section 402 (i.e., the author, an owner of one or more exclusive rights, or their respective agents).