Document Recordation: Completing and Submitting Electronic Title Lists
When submitting a transfer of copyright ownership or other document pertaining to a copyright for recordation to the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO), the submitted document must identify the relevant works. Currently, documents must be submitted for recordation in paper form. When Office staff indexes a document, certain information from the document must be manually transcribed into the Office’s electronic system. Because many documents contain hundreds or even thousands of works, transcribing this information is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. In addition to the paper list of titles, an electronic title list—an Excel file containing certain indexing information about the relevant works, such as their titles, type, registration numbers, and authorship information—may also be submitted.
Submitting an electronic title list is optional but provides certain benefits. While there is no minimum number of titles that must be submitted to use an electronic title list, fee savings are realized where documents have more than eleven titles. The current filing fee for a recordation submission that includes an electronic title list can be found in 37 CFR § 201.3(c).
Please use the calculator below to determine the fee for your document.
Additional benefits include reducing:
- the amount of time and labor required to index the document;
- the potential for inaccuracies in the public record; and
- the amount of time needed to record the document and issue a certificate of recordation.
An electronic title list is not considered part of the recorded document, but is used by the Office for indexing purposes. The Office will rely on the information in the electronic title list and will not necessarily confirm its accuracy against the submitted document; however, staff may “spot check” some of the entries and may communicate with the remitter or reject the submission if any discrepancies are found. Before submitting an electronic title list to the Office, remitters are strongly encouraged to confirm that their electronic title list fully and accurately reflect the information contained in the document.
An electronic title list may also be used to voluntarily provide supplemental indexing information not contained in the actual document. For example, if the submitted document only refers to a work by its title, a remitter could include authorship information or a registration number in an electronic title list to assist the public to more easily identify the work.
If you wish to submit an electronic title list with your document, you may do so by complying with the requirements and following the instructions provided below. The Office may reject any document submitted for recordation that includes an improperly prepared electronic title list.
To contact the Office with any questions or if you need assistance, please visit copyright.gov/help.
For additional requirements for Declarations of Ownership in Musical Works click here.
To submit an electronic title list:
- All other requirements for recording a document with the Office must be satisfied (see 37 CFR § 201.4), including payment of the appropriate filing fee (see 37 CFR § 201.3(c)).
- The document must be a transfer of copyright ownership or other document pertaining to a copyright that is recordable with the Copyright Office under 17 USC § 205. Notices of termination under sections 203, 304(c), or 304(d) are ineligible.
- The appropriate box on Form DCS must be checked to indicate that an electronic title list is enclosed with your submission.
- Absent special arrangement with the Office, the electronic title list must be included in the same package as the paper document submitted to the Office for recordation.
- The Office’s electronic title list template must be used and the instructions below for completing it must be followed. Any list that does not use the template or does not adhere to the below instructions will be rejected; this includes any list that only mirrors the appearance of the template. Additionally, all remitters must use the Office’s electronic title list validator to confirm that the data in their electronic title lists satisfies the Office’s formatting requirements. Failure to do so may result in the rejection of your recordation submission.
- The electronic title list must be saved in the Excel (.xlsx) file format and stored on a compact disc, flash drive, or other digital storage medium approved by the Office that is clearly labeled with the title of the first work provided in the paper document identified in Item 1 of Form DCS and the name of the first party identified in Item 11 of Form DCS.
- The Excel file must not be locked or have any protections or restrictions in place (other than what has already been locked by the Office in the template made available on this page).
- Where an electronic title list contains more than 10,000 titles, the titles must be grouped into separate Excel files. Each file must consist of a single sheet of no more than 10,000 titles; all must be stored on the same compact disc, flash drive, or other digital storage medium that is submitted with the paper document. If your document requires more than ten such Excel files (i.e., there are more than 100,000 titles), you must contact the Office before sending your submission.
- The Excel file’s name must include “ETL” and cannot include any special characters. Where multiple Excel files are submitted as part of the same electronic title list, each file’s name must include “Part # of #.”
- The electronic title list must only include letters, numbers, and printable characters that appear in the ASCII 128-character set. Appropriate translations or transliterations of non-English language material may be provided in conformity with 37 CFR § 201.4(d)(5).
Instructions for Completing the Electronic Title List Template
The electronic title list template is organized so that information for each work’s title for a work is provided on its own separate row of the spreadsheet; do not list more than one title in the same row. Titles should be listed in the same order in which they appear in the document. There are thirteen columns for providing the information necessary to index each title. Some columns are optional and others may not always be applicable. In general, providing information beyond what is actually contained in the document, such as authorship information or registration numbers, is optional but strongly encouraged. Specific instructions for each column are below.
IMPORTANT: Leave all unused cells in the template blank. DO NOT type “Not Applicable” or “N/A.” Additionally, remitters may now use the copy/paste function in the template. Previously, using the function was discouraged because it interfered with validation.
Column A: Title Number
This column be a running number list that starts at “1” with your first title and continues numerically row-by-row with each title you add to your list. For example, for the first title entered, which is in row 4 of the template, type “1” in this column. For the second title, in row 5, enter a “2” in this column. For the one thousandth title, in row 1003, enter “1000” in this column. Do not include a comma, decimal point, or any other non-numerical character.
Column B: Leading Article for Title
If the title begins with one of the following articles, select it from the drop-down list in this column. For example, if the title of the work is “A New Hope,” select “A” from the drop-down list; if the title is “The Empire Strikes Back,” select “The.” If the title does not begin with an article, begins with an article that is not listed below, or is written in a language other than English, Spanish, French, or German, leave this column blank. For example, if the title is “Il Postino,” do not type “Il” in this column; if the title is Italian and is “La Follia,” do not select “La” from the drop-down list.
- English-language titles: A, An, The
- Spanish-language titles: Un, Una, El, La, Lo, Las, Los
- French-language titles: L’, Le, La, Les, Un, Une
- German-language titles: Der, Die, Das, Einer, Eine, Ein
Column C: Title
Enter the complete title of the work. If the title begins with one of the above leading articles, do not include it here. Instead, enter it in Column B “Leading Article for Title.” For example, if the title of the work is “A New Hope” or “The Empire Strikes Back,” only type “New Hope” or “Empire Strikes Back” in this column. By contrast, if the title of the work is “Return of the Jedi,” the full title should be entered in this column and Column B should be blank because there is no leading article.
If the work has more than one title, choose one of the titles to be the “primary title.” The other titles for the work are “alternative titles.” For example, the primary title of a work could be “Star Wars” and alternative titles could be “Episode IV” and “A New Hope.” The primary title and its alternative titles must each be entered separately on individual rows of the spreadsheet. The relationship between the primary title and its alternative titles is established by completing Column D “Type of Alternative Title” and Column E “Primary Title Number.” For more information about alternative titles, see § 2309.11(B) of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices.
Special Instructions for Untitled Numerically Identified Works such as Television Episodes, Newspapers, and Periodicals
If the work is part of a larger work (see instructions for Column L “Title of Larger Work” below) and is untitled, but is known by a numerical identifier (e.g., a television episode of a series identified as Episode 201 or a specific issue of a magazine identified as Issue 50) follow these instructions. Rather than providing the title of the larger work in Column L, provide it here along with the numerical identifier of the specific work at issue in the following format, to the extent applicable: [title of larger work], [numerical identifier of specific work], [date of specific work]. For example, “Popular Science, Vol. 286, No. 4, April 2015” or “New York Times, Vol. CXVIII, No. 40,721, July 21, 1969” or “CBS Evening News, November 1, 2017” or “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, No. 1003.” However, where a work has an actual title, these special instructions should be disregarded. For example, for the television episode “Mirror, Mirror” from the series “Star Trek,” “Mirror, Mirror,” as the title of the work, should be entered in this column and “Star Trek,” as the title of the larger work, should be entered in Column L. Do not provide in this column “Star Trek, Episode 33,” “Star Trek, Season 2, Episode 4,” or “Star Trek, Mirror, Mirror.” Numerical information may, at the remitter’s option, still be provided in addition to the full title of the work, by including it in parentheses after the title of the work (e.g., “Mirror, Mirror (Season 2, Episode 4)”). If the actual title of the work happens to be a numerical identifier (e.g., “Episode Three” or “Chapter 6”), disregard these special instructions; it should be treated as any other title.
Column D: Type of Alternative Title
If the title is not an alternative title, leave this column blank. If this title is an alternative title, select the type of alternative title that is most appropriate from the drop-down list in this column. If the document specifies the type, choose the type specified in the document. For example, if the document says “formerly known as,” select “f.k.a.” If the type is unknown or you are not sure, select “a.k.a.”
- a.k.a. - Also Known As
- f.k.a. - Formerly Known As
- n.k.a. - Now Known As
- p.k.a. - Previously Known As
Column E: Primary Title Number
If the title is not an alternative title, leave this column blank. If this title is an alternative title, enter the Title Number (from Column A) that corresponds with the primary title for the work. This number links the alternative title to the primary title in the Office’s records. For example, if the Title Number of the primary title “Star Wars” is 12, then type “12” in this column in the row of each of its alternative titles “Episode IV” and “A New Hope.”
If the title is an alternative title, do not continue after Column E. Columns F through M must remain blank. The information for those columns for an alternative title is dictated by the information entered for its related primary title.
Example of properly entered primary and alternative titles in the template:
|Title Number||Leading Article for Title||Title||Type of Alternative Title||Primary Title Number||Type of Work|
|1||Star Wars||Motion Picture|
|4||Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom||Motion Picture|
|5||Indiana Jones 2||f.k.a.||4|
Column F: Type of Work
This field is only required if the information is contained in the document, though the Office strongly encourages remitters to still include this information even if the document does not specify it. Describe the type of work. While it is acceptable to state a broad category of work, it is generally more useful to be more specific. For example, while saying “Literary Work” is permissible, it would be more useful to instead say “Book,” “Newspaper,” or “Computer Program.” If the work is a multimedia work—meaning one comprised of more than one type of work—provide a description that encompasses the work as whole (e.g., “musical album”) or list each type of comprising work (e.g., “compilation of musical works, sound recordings, cover art, and liner note text”).
(Note: For Declarations of Ownership in Musical Works, this field must contain “Musical Work.” Other details describing the type of work may be provided, but the phrase “Musical Work” must be present among them. For U.S. sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, this field must contain U.S. “Pre-1972 Sound Recording.”)
Column G: Name(s) of Author(s)
This field is only required if the information is contained in the document, though the Office strongly encourages remitters to still include this information even if the document does not specify it. Enter the word “By” followed by the name of the author or co-authors of the work, first name then last name (e.g., “By Stephen Sondheim”; “By John Lennon and Paul McCartney”; “By Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland”). Where applicable, include designations such as “professionally known as,” “doing business as,” “also known as,” or the like (e.g., “By Gerald Herman also known as Jerry Herman”), or the abbreviated form of such designations, but omit any punctuation between letters (e.g., “By Ella Yelich-O’Connor pka Lorde”; not “p.k.a. Lorde” or “p/k/a Lorde”). If the work’s authorship is anonymous state so in this column by writing “By Anonymous.” If authorship is pseudonymous, provide the pseudonymous name and indicate in parentheses that the name is a pseudonym (e.g., “By Mark Twain (pseudonymous)”).
(Note: This field is required for all Declarations of Ownership in Musical Works.)
Column H: Registration Number
If the document contains a U.S. Copyright Office-issued registration number for the work, it must be entered in this column. If the work has a registration number, but the document does not provide it, the Office strongly encourages remitters to still include the number in this column. Only enter one registration number in this column. If the work has more than one registration number, a second number can be provided in Column J “Additional Registration Number.”
Regardless of how it appears in the document, the following format must be used when entering a registration number in this column:
- Each registration number must begin with a prefix. The prefix should contain one, two, or three letters, such as E, EU, SR, or VAU. The prefix should be presented in capital letters (i.e., “PAU”; not “PAu” or “pau”) and there should be no spaces, hyphens, or other punctuation between the letters.
- Each registration number must contain twelve characters, including the prefix and the numbers that follow. If a registration number contains less than twelve characters, insert zeroes between the prefix and the numeric portion of the registration number. For example, if the document contains registration number “SR-320-918,” that number should be entered in this column as “SR0000320918.” If the document contains registration number “VAu-598-764,” that number should be entered in this column as “VAU000598764.”
For additional examples that illustrate the proper format for transcribing registration numbers, see § 2306.4 of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices.
Column I: Effective Date of Registration
If a registration number has been provided in Column H “Registration Number,” you must enter the 4-digit year of registration in this column.
Column J: Additional Registration Number
If the work has more than one U.S. Copyright Office-issued registration number, enter an additional registration number here. If the document contains such additional registration number, it must be provided in this column. If the work has one, but the document does not provide it, the Office strongly encourages remitters to still include the number in this column. Only enter one registration number in this column. If the work has more than two registration numbers follow the registration number in this column with “et al.” Follow the same formatting instructions as detailed above for Column H “Registration Number.”
Column K: Effective Date of Additional Registration
If an additional registration number has been provided in Column J “Additional Registration Number,” you must enter the 4-digit year of the additional registration in this column.
Column L: Title of Larger Work
If the document indicates that the work is part of a larger work, you must enter the title of the larger work here (including any leading article). If the work is part of a larger work, but the document does not provide this information, the Office strongly encourages remitters to still include the information in this column. Examples where this column should be completed include where the work is a sound recording on a musical album (e.g., the sound recording “Shake It Off” from the album “1989”), an episode of a television show (e.g., the episode “The Puffy Shirt” from the show “Seinfeld”), a book in a series (e.g., the book “A Dance with Dragons” from the series “A Song of Ice and Fire”), or a musical work from a motion picture (e.g., the musical work “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from the motion picture “Toy Story”). In these examples the title of the album (“1989”), television show (“Seinfeld”), series (“A Song of Ice and Fire”), or motion picture (“Toy Story”) should each, respectively, be entered here; the title of the sound recording (“Shake It Off”), episode (“The Puffy Shirt”), book (“A Dance with Dragons”), or musical work (“You’ve Got a Friend in Me”) should each, respectively, be entered in Column C “Title.”
Column M: Type of Larger Work
This field is only required if Column L “Title of Larger Work” has been completed and the information is contained in the document; however, the Office strongly encourages remitters to still include this information even if the document does not specify it. Describe the type of larger work, following the same guidance provided above for Column F “Type of Work.”
Correcting an Electronic Title List
If an electronic title list contains errors or omissions, corresponding errors or omissions may appear in the Office’s online public record for that document. If a remitter of a recorded document finds that an error or omission in an electronic title list has led to the inaccurate indexing of the document in the Office’s public catalog, the remitter may request that the record be corrected by submitting a letter to the Office specifying what corrections should be made. Such a letter may be submitted at any time after the Office issues a certificate of recordation and creates an online public record for the document.
To submit a correction to an electronic title list:
- Do not submit a corrected electronic title list or resubmit the paper document or Form DCS.
- Mail your corrective filing to Copyright Office–ETL Correction, P.O. Box 71537, Washington, DC 20024-1537
- Submit the appropriate fee for the corrective filing as indicated by 37 CFR § 201.3(c), currently under the heading “Correction of online Public Catalog data due to erroneous electronic title submission (per title).”
- Submit a signed and dated letter to the Office clearly indicating:
- That you wish to make a correction to an electronic title list.
- The volume and document number that the Office assigned to the associated recorded document.
- The number of titles being corrected.
- The filing fee owed for the correction (see 37 CFR § 201.3(c)) and method of payment: check, money order, or deposit account. If paying through a deposit account, indicate the account name and number.
- Contact information for the remitter, if different from that provided in Item 12 of the originally submitted Form DCS.
- The title of the first work provided in the recorded document, as identified in Item 1 of the originally submitted Form DCS.
- The name of the first party identified in Item 11 of the originally submitted Form DCS.
- The name of the remitter, as identified in Item 12 of the originally submitted Form DCS.
- All corrections being sought. For an error, you must state (1) the Title Number from Column A of the originally submitted electronic title list; (2) the relevant category heading from the originally submitted electronic title list; (3) the relevant text as was originally submitted; and (4) the replacement corrective text. For an omission from a title that was in the originally submitted electronic title list, describe the new information. If the title was entirely omitted, provide all relevant information in the same order it would have been in if it were included in the original electronic title list, along with the page number of the document where the title information can be located. For example:
- For title no. 7, correct the leading article for title from “The” to “A”.
- For title no. 7, correct the title from “News hop” to “New Hope”.
- For title no. 7, correct the type of alternative title from “f.k.a.” to “a.k.a.”
- For title no. 7, correct the primary title number from “6” to “5”.
- For title no. 232, correct the type of work from “screenplay” to “motion picture”.
- For title no. 1346, correct the additional registration number from “SR0000320917” to “SR0000320918”.
- For title no. 2003, add “film” as a type of larger work.
- Add: A; Dance with Dragons; [ ]; [ ]; novel; By George R.R. Martin; [ ]; [ ]; [ ]; [ ]; A Song of Ice and Fire; book series; Appendix B, p. 8.
Upon receipt of a properly prepared corrective filing and the appropriate fee, Office staff will review the submission, and if appropriate, will proceed to correct the errors or omissions that appear in the public catalog. In addition, staff will add a note indicating that the record has been corrected and the date that the corrections were made.