621.9 (I) Discrepancies Involving the Registration Number or Year of Registration in a Paper Application
If the applicant checks the “yes” box on space 5 of a paper application without providing a registration number and/or year of registration, or with a statement such as “unknown” or “I don’t know,” the registration specialist may either communicate with the applicant, or may attempt to locate the previous registration information in the U.S. Copyright Office’s records. In conducting such a search, the specialist will only look for works that have been registered under the exact same author and title as the work described in the application.
If there is no record of a previous registration under the same author and title, the specialist may register the claim with an annotation, such as: “Regarding previous registration: Copyright Office records show no previous registration under this title.”
If the work described in the application has been published, and if the specialist finds another work registered under the exact same author and title, he or she may add the previous registration number and year to the registration record. If the previous registration is for an unpublished version of the work described in the application, the specialist may explain that the Office is issuing a new registration for the first published edition of this work by adding an annotation, such as: “Regarding previous registration: Registration number added from Copyright Office records. Registered as first published edition.” If the previous registration is for a previously published version of the work described in the application, the specialist will communicate with the applicant to determine whether there is a basis for issuing a new registration.
In some cases, the applicant may check box (A) in space 5, indicating that “this is the first published edition of a work previously registered in unpublished form” without providing a date of publication for the work that has been submitted for registration and without providing a previous registration number or year of registration. If the work appears to be unpublished, and if there is no record of a previous registration under the same title, the registration specialist may add an annotation, such as: “Regarding previous registration: Application states that this is the first published edition of a work previously registered in unpublished form, but no publication date or previous registration number given. Registered as unpublished.”