619.11 One Registration Per Work
A registration that has been issued to an author of a work or a person or entity that owns all the rights that initially belonged to the author secures the statutory benefits of registration to any other author or any other person or entity that owns one or more of the exclusive rights in that work. Consequently, the U.S. Copyright Office will not knowingly issue more than one basic registration for the same work. 37 C.F.R. § 202.3 (B) (11); Applications for Registration of Claim to Copyright under Revised Copyright Act, 42 Fed. Reg. at 48,945. However, there are three exceptions to this rule:
• If the work was previously registered as an unpublished work, the Office may issue another registration for the first published edition of that work, even if the published version “is substantially the same as the unpublished version.” 17 U.S.C. § 408 (E); 37 C.F.R. § 202.3 (B) (11) (I).
• An author may seek a separate registration naming himself or herself as the copyright claimant, even though the Office has already issued another registration that names a different individual or legal entity as the copyright claimant for that work. This is because an author is always able to file as a copyright claimant. 37 C.F.R. § 202.3 (B) (11)(ii).
• The Office may issue another registration for a work if an applicant alleges that an earlier registration for the same version of that work is unauthorized and legally invalid. 37 C.F.R. § 202.3 (B) (11)(iii). For a discussion of adverse claims, see Chapter 1800, Section 1808.
For a general discussion of these exceptions, see Chapter 500, Sections 510.1 through 510.3.