618.8 (A) Authorship Unclear
The authorship that the applicant intends to register should be clearly identified in the application and the claim to copyright in that authorship should be clearly stated.
As a general rule, the U.S. Copyright Office will accept any of the terms set forth in Section 618.4 (C), any of the terms set forth in Sections 618.6 or 618.7 (in the case of an application to register a compilation, a collective work, or a contribution to a collective work), or any combination of those terms, unless the information provided in the Author Created field or the Nature of Authorship space fails to describe the authorship that the applicant intends to register, fails to describe copyrightable authorship, or is contradicted by information provided elsewhere in the registration materials.
The Office recognizes that many applicants are not familiar with the correct terms for completing an application or may make a mistake in completing the Author Created field or the Nature of Authorship space. As a general rule, “[a]ny substantive editing of authorship and/or new matter statements and/or material excluded from claim statements, will be done only after contacting the applicant for permission to amend the information” set forth in that portion of the application. Online Registration of Claims to Copyright, 72 Fed. Reg. 36,883, 36,887 (July 6, 2007). In some cases, the registration specialist may add an annotation to the record to clarify the copyrightable material that the author contributed to the work. As a general rule, the registration specialist will communicate with the applicant if the information provided in the Author Created field or the Nature of Authorship space is unclear and the issue cannot be addressed with an annotation.
Examples of unclear terms that should be avoided in the application are discussed in Sections 618.8 (A) (1) through 618.8 (A) (11) below.