Copyright Compendium

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614.2 (B) (8) Individual and Unincorporated Organization Named Together as the Authors of a Work Made for Hire

 

614.2 (B) (8) Individual and Unincorporated Organization Named Together as the Authors of a Work Made for Hire

 

In some cases, an individual author uses an unincorporated organization to conduct his or her business (e.g., “Jackson Charles doing business as Charles Photography,” “Sophia Tomasco d/b/a Tomasco Studios,” “Lucas Fleming trading as Fleming Designs”). In such cases, the Office considers the individual and the organization to be the same legal entity. If the individual author created the work on behalf of his or her own unincorporated organization, the individual should be named as the author of the work and the work made for hire box should be checked “no.”

 

Example:

 

• Pamela Bethel is a songwriter who does business under the name “Patti Bell Music.” She submits an application naming Pamela Bethel as the author of “music” and she responds to the work made for hire question by checking the box marked “no.” The registration specialist will register the claim.

 

As a general rule, the name of the author’s d.b.a. should not be provided in the Name of Author field/space. If the applicant wishes to include this information in the registration record, the d.b.a. should be provided in the Note to Copyright Office field. The registration specialist will add the name of the author’s d.b.a. to the certificate of registration and the online public record. In addition, the d.b.a. may be added as an index term if it is likely that users may use that term to search for the author’s works.

 

Example:

 

• Iskandar Hussain submits an application for a documentary. Iskandar names himself as the author with the work made for hire question answered “no.” In the Note to Copyright Office field he states: “Iskandar Hussain, d/b/a I Can Do It Productions.” Iskandar appears to be the author and the organization named in the Note to Copyright Office field appears to be his unincorporated business. The registration specialist will add the name “I Can Do It Productions” to the registration record along with an annotation, such as: “Regarding author information: dba added from Note to Copyright Office.”

 

If an individual and an unincorporated organization are named together in the Name of Author field, the registration specialist may communicate with the applicant unless the application clearly states that the individual is “doing business as” (dba) or “trading as” the organization or that the unincorporated organization is “solely owned by” the individual.

 

Examples:

 

• An application is submitted for a video with “Arvo Robinson d.b.a. ActiviTEE” named as the author of this work and the work made for hire box checked “no.” The name that appears in the copyright notice is “ActiviTEE Films.” The registration specialist may register the claim, although the name of the d.b.a. should have been provided in the Note to Copyright Office field rather than the Name of Author field.

 

• An application names “Associated Designs (Virginia McDonald)” as the author of a fabric design. The work made for hire question is answered “yes.” A statement on the deposit copy reads “All designs created by Virginia McDonald.” The registration specialist may communicate with the applicant, because it is unclear whether the author is Virginia McDonald or Associated Designs.