620.10 (B) Chain of Title
As a general rule, the applicant need not provide a transfer statement for each transfer of ownership between the author and the party that currently owns all of the rights under copyright that initially belonged to the author. Ordinarily, the registration specialist will accept a transfer statement that describes the most recent transfer between the claimant named in the application and the previous copyright owner, unless the statement is unclear or contradicted by other information in the registration materials.
In special circumstances, the registration specialist may ask the applicant to submit a supplementary statement describing the entire chain of title from the author to the claimant, such as when the work was created by a long-deceased author or a recently- deceased well-known author and there is no indication that the claimant is related to that author.
• Willie Park submits an application to register an oil painting that he found in his attic. Willie names his great-grandfather as the author of the work and he states that the author died in 1965. House of Oil Artwork, LLC is named as the copyright claimant and the transfer statement reads “by assignment.” The registration specialist will ask the applicant to provide a statement describing the chain of title from the author to the copyright claimant.
• Michele Roth submits an application to register an unpublished song written by Bob Marley in 1964. Michele names herself as the copyright claimant “by written agreement.” There is no apparent link between the applicant and Bob Marley, and the applicant has not identified the party who transferred the copyright to Michele. The registration specialist will ask the applicant to provide a statement describing the chain of title from the author to the copyright claimant.