Recordation Overview

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, other documents pertaining to a copyright, and notices of termination. Once indexed by the Office, recorded documents become available for inspection by the general public.

Currently Processing - Paper Submissions: March 2022 (basic filings); October 2023 for notices of termination.

For faster processing, please use our new online Recordation System.

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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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