Document Recordation

Under the Copyright Act, the U.S. Copyright Office accepts certain types of documents for filing and indexing into the Office’s public records. There are three primary types of documents that may be submitted for recordation:

Transfers of Copyright Ownership

A transfer of copyright ownership is “an assignment, mortgage, exclusive license, or any other conveyance, alienation, or hypothecation of a copyright or of any of the exclusive rights comprised in a copyright, whether or not it is limited in time or place of effect, but not including a nonexclusive license.” 17 U.S.C. § 101.

Other Documents Pertaining to a Copyright

A document pertaining to a copyright is one that “has a direct or indirect relationship to the existence, scope, duration, or identification of a copyright, or to the ownership, division, allocation, licensing, or exercise of rights under a copyright. That relationship may be past, present, future, or potential.” 37 C.F.R. § 201.4(c)(2).

Notices of Termination

A notice of termination is a notice that terminates a grant to a third party of a copyright in a work or any rights under a copyright. Only certain grants may be terminated, and only in certain circumstances. Termination is governed by three separate provisions of the Copyright Act, with the relevant one depending on a number of factors, including when the grant was made, who executed it, and when copyright was originally secured for the work. See 17 U.S.C. §§ 203, 304(c), 304(d).

Once indexed by the Office, recorded documents become available for inspection by the general public. For more information about document recordation, visit the links below.

*Note that electronic title lists may not be submitted with notices of termination.

Current processing time: Generally up to 9 months for transfers and other documents and 5 months for notices of termination.

Currently processing: September 2017 (transfers and other documents); December 2017 (notices of termination)

Regardless of the processing time for your recordation(s), the effective date of recordation is the date the Copyright Office receives your complete submission in acceptable form.