The U.S. Copyright Office uses the term “variance” to refer to any instance where conflicting information is present in or among the registration materials submitted by the applicant. The Office has certain practices for addressing variances, depending on the nature of the conflicting information.
There are four general categories of variances:
(I) Immaterial variances;
(ii) Material variances that are resolvable on review of the registration materials as a whole;
(iii) Material variances that may be resolvable by communicating with the applicant; and
(iv) Material variances that do not appear to be resolvable.
If the registration specialist discovers a variance in the registration materials, the actions that he or she may take include: (I) disregarding the variance if it is immaterial,
(ii) adding a note to the online public record; (iii) adding an annotation to the certificate of registration and the online public record to identify a correction made by the specialist or to clarify information provided elsewhere in the registration materials; (iv) corresponding with the applicant to obtain the correct information; (v) returning the application and instructing the applicant to correct the variance and resubmit the claim, or (vi) refusing registration in exceptional cases.
These actions and the circumstances when they may be taken are discussed in Sections 603.1 and 603.2 below. For a discussion of the Office’s general policies regarding annotations, see Section 604.