Copyright Compendium

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Chapter 1800
Chapter 1900
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Chapter 2100
Chapter 2200
Chapter 2300
Chapter 2400

613.1 Who Is the Author?

 

613.1 Who Is the Author?

 

To register a work with the U.S. Copyright Office, the applicant must identify the author or authors of the work submitted for registration, unless the work is anonymous or pseudonymous. 17 U.S.C. § 409 (2). Generally, the author is the person (or persons) who actually created the material that the applicant intends to register. See, e.g., Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730, 737 (1989) (“As a general rule, the author is the party who actually creates the work, that is, the person who translates an idea into a fixed, tangible expression entitled to copyright protection.”); Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U.S. 53, 58 (1884) (describing the author as the person “to whom anything owes its origin; originator; maker; one who completes a work of science or literature”). There is an exception to this rule if the work is a work made for hire. The author of a work made for hire is not the individual who actually created the work, but “the employer or other person for whom the work was prepared.” Community for Creative Non-Violence, 490 U.S. at 737; see also U.S. Auto Parts Network, Inc. v. Parts Geek LLC, 692 F. 3d 1009, 1015 (9th Cir. 2012). For a definition and discussion of works made for hire, see Chapter 500, Section 506.