Copyright Compendium

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620.9 (A) Minimum Requirements for a Transfer Statement

620.9 (A) Minimum Requirements for a Transfer Statement


If the claimant or co-claimant(s) is not the author of the work, the applicant should provide a brief statement that explains how each claimant obtained ownership of the copyright. (As discussed above, a transfer statement is not required if the claimant is the author of the work.)


The transfer statement should demonstrate that the copyright was transferred to the claimant by written agreement, by inheritance, or by operation of law. 17 U.S.C. § 201 (D) (1). In addition, the statement should demonstrate that the claimant obtained all the rights under the copyright that initially belonged to the author.


When completing an online application the applicant should provide this information on the Claimants screen by selecting one of the options listed in the drop down menu marked Transfer Statement.


In the case of a literary work, a work of the visual arts, a work of the performing arts, a sound recording, or a motion picture/audiovisual work, the options include “By written agreement,” “By inheritance,” and “Other.” If the claimant obtained the copyright through an assignment, contract, or other written agreement, the applicant should select “By written agreement.” If the claimant obtained the copyright through a will, bequest, or other form of inheritance, the applicant should select “By inheritance.”


When completing an online application for a single serial issue, the options include:


• By written agreement(s) with author(s) named on the application/certificate.


• By written agreement(s) with author(s) not named on the application/certificate.


• By written agreement(s) with author(s) named and contributors not named on the application/certificate.


• By written agreement.


If these options do not fully describe the transfer, the applicant may select “Other” from the drop down menu and provide a more specific transfer statement in the space marked Transfer Statement Other. Currently, the total amount of text that may be provided in the Transfer Statement Other field is limited to 100 characters.


When completing a paper application, the applicant should provide a transfer statement on space 4 of the application under the heading Transfer. For examples of acceptable transfer statements, see Section 620.9 (B) below.

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