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

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603.2 (C) Material Variances That Cannot Be Resolved by Amending or Annotating the Registration Record


603.2 (C) Material Variances That Cannot Be Resolved by Amending or Annotating the Registration Record

When the U.S. Copyright Office discovers a material variance in the registration materials, and the correct information cannot be ascertained based on the information provided in the registration materials as a whole or in the Office’s records, the registration specialist may communicate with the applicant and attempt to resolve the discrepancy. (For a discussion of the Office’s general policies regarding communications, see Section 605.) In such cases, any changes agreed to by the applicant will be reflected in the registration record, and the corrected information will appear on the certificate of registration and in the online public record.




• The title on the deposit copy reads Haiku for the Illiterati – “Third Edition, but the application identifies the title as Haiku for the Illiterati – ” Fifth Edition. The registration specialist will communicate with the applicant to determine whether the applicant intends to register the third or the fifth edition and whether the Office received the correct deposit copy. Depending on the applicant’s response, the specialist may amend the registration record to provide relevant information about the third edition or may request appropriate deposit copies for the fifth edition.


• An online application identifies Wilhelmina Puckett as both the author and claimant for an atlas, but the deposit copy identifies the author as Cassandra Smyth. The registration specialist will communicate with the applicant to determine if the correct author has been named on the application. The applicant explains that Wilhelmina Puckett hired Cassandra Smyth to create this work. With the applicant’s permission, the specialist will check the box indicating that the atlas is a work made for hire. The explanation for this change will be included in the registration record.


In some cases, there may be numerous variances in the registration materials. If an unreasonable number of actions would be needed to address these variances, the specialist may return the application, and instruct the applicant to correct and resubmit the claim.




• The National Association of Gastroenterologists submits an application to register a textbook. The application names 20 individuals as the co-authors of the work, but in each case, the author’s first name is listed as “Humphrey,” rather than the name that actually appears on the deposit copies. The registration specialist will return the application to the applicant, identify the problem that needs to be fixed, and instruct the applicant to resubmit the claim once the corrections have been made.


In exceptional cases, the specialist may refuse registration if he or she determines that the variance cannot be resolved through correspondence.




• A law firm submits an online application to register a painting, along with an exhibition catalog that contains a complete copy of the work. The application states that the work is unpublished, but the deposit states that copies of the catalog were distributed to the public in 1977. The registration specialist will refuse registration, explain that the work may be eligible for a renewal registration, and instruct the applicant to submit a new application on Form RE/Addendum, along with a new deposit and the correct filing fee.


• The Warwick University Press publishes books written by professional scholars. The publisher routinely submits applications naming the author as the copyright claimant, but fails to provide the claimant’s address, which is required by law. The Office routinely writes to request the missing information, but the publisher repeatedly makes the same mistake in subsequent submissions. The Office will notify the publisher that if it fails to provide the claimant’s address in the future, the registration specialist will refuse registration without attempting to correct the variance.


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