619.13 (E) (2) Two or More Names Separated by Conjunctions or Punctuations Marks in a Paper Application
If the copyright is owned by two or more claimants, the applicant should use “and” between the claimants’ names in a paper application, rather than “or” and rather than “and/or.” The registration specialist will communicate with the applicant if two or more names are provided in the Name of Claimant space together with the conjunction “or” (e.g., “John Smith or Jane Doe) or “and/or” (e.g., “John Smith and/or Jane Doe”).
• An application is submitted on Form TX for a guide book on farmers’ markets, naming “Miriam Burchard and The House of Miriam, Inc.” as co-claimants. The registration specialist will register the claim.
• An application is submitted on Form VA for a comic strip. The application names Nancy Spring as the author of “2-D artwork” and Mario Van San as the author of “text.” The Name of Claimant space names “Nancy Spring and/or Mario Van San” as the claimant(s). The registration specialist will ask the applicant to identify the party(ies) who own the copyright in this work.
In the alternative, the name of each claimant may be separated by a comma, semicolon, or slash (e.g., “John Smith, Jane Doe,” “John Smith; Smith Publishing,” “John Doe / Jane Smith”). The U.S. Copyright Office discourages applicants from using hyphens, dashes, parentheses, or other forms of punctuation in space 4 of the paper application (e.g.. “John Smith (Smith Publishing),” “John Smith–Jane Doe”).
As a general rule, the registration specialist may register a claim if each name appears to be complete, and it is clear that each name refers to a separate individual or legal entity, or if each name clearly refers to an author who is named in the application or elsewhere in the registration materials. The registration specialist will communicate with the applicant if it is unclear whether each name refers to a separate claimant.
• A paper application is submitted for a song containing music and lyrics. “John Dalton; Mary Keating” are named as the co- authors and co-claimants for this work. The application will be accepted.
• A paper application is submitted for a novel, naming an individual as the author of the work. The Name of Claimant space reads “Dole Publishing, Inc./Reynolds Corporation,” and an appropriate transfer statement has been provided. The application will be accepted, because the co-claimants appear to be separate legal entities.
• A paper application is submitted for a book on how to apply to law school. “Martha Espinosa” is named as the author and “Martha Espinosa (Law School Solutions)” is named as the claimant. No transfer statement is given. The registration specialist will communicate with the applicant to determine whether Martha and Law School Solutions are separate legal entities and, if so, whether the company has the right to be named as a co-claimant.