Copyright Compendium

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Chapter 2400

620.10 (A) Transfer of Copyright Ownership or Other Documents Pertaining to Copyright Submitted with the Application

620.10 (A) Transfer of Copyright Ownership or Other Documents Pertaining to Copyright Submitted with the Application


A transfer statement should be provided in the appropriate field/space of the application.


Submitting a copy of an agreement, conveyance, or other legal instrument is not an acceptable substitute for a transfer statement. If the applicant submits a legal document in lieu of providing a proper transfer statement, the registration specialist will communicate with the applicant.


The applicant need not and should not submit a copy of any agreement, conveyance, or other legal instrument that may be referenced in the transfer statement. The U.S. Copyright Office will not interpret any agreement or other document pertaining to copyright.


If the applicant would like to record a transfer of copyright ownership or any other document pertaining to copyright, that document should be submitted separately using the procedures for recording documents with the U.S. Copyright Office. For a detailed discussion of these procedures, see Chapter 2300.


Examples:


• An application to register a motion picture is submitted along with a photocopy of an assignment involving this work. Biscuit Studios is named as the author, Grey Bullet LLC is named as the claimant, and the transfer statement indicates that the claimant obtained the copyright “by written agreement.” The registration specialist will register the claim, but will not record the assignment or return the document to the applicant.


• An online application is submitted for a musical work, naming Jonathan Rich as the author and Poor Boy Productions LLC as the sole copyright claimant. In addition, the applicant uploads a signed, original copy of a contract that purportedly conveys the copyright in the work from the author to the copyright claimant. The Transfer field states, “see document attached.” The registration specialist will communicate with the applicant. The specialist will explain that a contract is not an acceptable substitute for a transfer statement and will ask for permission to replace the phrase “see document attached” with an appropriate transfer statement, such as “by written agreement” or “by written contract.”


• An online application is submitted for a logo, along with a copy of a legal contract. The application names BrandMe LLC as the author of the work and names Lenny Rodgers as the copyright claimant. There is no transfer statement. In the Note to Copyright Office field Lenny explains, “I paid for this logo so I own it. I would like to record the enclosed contract with the Office.” The registration specialist will communicate with the applicant to determine if Lenny owns the copyright in this logo; if so, the specialist will ask Lenny to provide an appropriate transfer statement. In addition, the specialist will explain that if Lenny would like to record the agreement with the Office, the document should be submitted separately using the procedure for recording documents.

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