Title 37: Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
Part 201—GENERAL PROVISIONS
Subchapter A—Copyright Office and Procedures
(a) General. This section prescribes conditions for the recordation of transfers of copyright ownership and other documents pertaining to a copyright under 17 U.S.C. 205. Except as otherwise provided pursuant to paragraph (h) of this section, a document is eligible for recordation under this section if it meets the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section, if it is submitted in accordance with the submission procedure described in paragraph (e) of this section, and if it is accompanied by the fee specified in §201.3(c). The date of recordation is the date when all of the elements required for recordation, including a proper document, fee, and any additional required information, are received in the Copyright Office. After recordation the document is returned to the sender with a certificate of recordation. The Office may reject any document submitted for recordation that fails to comply with 17 U.S.C. 205, the requirements of this section, or any relevant instructions or guidance provided by the Office.
(b) Documents not recordable under this section. This section does not govern the filing or recordation of the following documents:
(1) Certain contracts entered into by cable systems located outside of the 48 contiguous States (17 U.S.C. 111(e); see §201.12);
(2) Notices of identity and signal carriage complement, and statements of account of cable systems and satellite carriers and for digital audio recording devices and media (17 U.S.C. 111(d), 119(b), and 1003(c); see §§201.11, 201.17, 201.28);
(3) Notices of use of sound recordings under statutory license and notices of intention to obtain a compulsory license to make and distribute phonorecords of nondramatic musical works (17 U.S.C. 112(e), 114, and 115(b); see §§201.18 and 370.2);
(4) Notices of termination (17 U.S.C. 203, 304(c) and (d); see §201.10);
(5) Statements regarding the identity of authors of anonymous and pseudonymous works, and statements relating to the death of authors (17 U.S.C. 302);
(6) Documents pertaining to computer shareware and donation of public domain software (Pub. L. 101-650, sec. 805; see §201.26);
(7) Notifications from the clerks of the courts of the United States concerning actions brought under title 17, United States Code (17 U.S.C. 508);
(8) Notices to libraries and archives of normal commercial exploitation or availability at reasonable prices (17 U.S.C. 108(h)(2)(C); see §201.39);
(9) Submission of Visual Arts Registry Statements (17 U.S.C. 113; see §201.25);
(10) Notices and correction notices of intent to enforce restored copyrights (17 U.S.C. 104A(e); see §§201.33, 201.34);
(11) Designations of agents to receive notifications of claimed infringement (17 U.S.C. 512(c)(2); see §201.38);
(12) Notices of contact information for transmitting entities publicly performing pre-1972 sound recordings by means of digital audio transmission (17 U.S.C. 1401(f)(5)(B); see §201.36);
(13) Schedules of pre-1972 sound recordings (17 U.S.C. 1401(f)(5)(A); see §201.35);
(14) Notices of noncommercial use of pre-1972 sound recordings (17 U.S.C. 1401(c)(1)(B); see §201.37); and
(15) Opt-out notices of noncommercial use of pre-1972 sound recordings (17 U.S.C. 1401(c)(1)(C); see §201.37).
(c) Definitions. For purposes of this section:
(1) A transfer of copyright ownership has the meaning set forth in 17 U.S.C. 101.
(2) A document pertaining to a copyright is any document 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.
(3) An actual signature is any legally binding signature, including an electronic signature as defined in 15 U.S.C. 7006.
(4) A sworn certification is a statement made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 1746 that the copy of the document submitted for recordation is, to the best of the certifier's knowledge, a true copy of the original, signed document. A sworn certification must be signed by one of the parties to the signed document, a successor-in-interest to one of the parties to the signed document, or the authorized representative of such a party or successor. Authorized representatives must state who they represent and successors-in-interest must describe their relationship to the document or the original parties to the document. An authorized representative of a successor-in-interest must describe the successor's relationship to the document or the original parties to the document. A sworn certification may be signed electronically.
(5) An official certification is a certification, by the appropriate governmental official, that the original of the document is on file in a public office and that the copy of the document submitted for recordation is a true copy of the original. An official certification may be signed electronically.
(d) Document requirements—
(1) Original or certified copy. The remitter must submit either the original document that bears the actual signature(s) of the person(s) who executed it, or a copy of the original, signed document accompanied by a sworn certification or an official certification. Each document submitted for recordation must be certified to either have the actual signature(s) (if it is an original document) or reproduce the actual signature(s) (in the case of a copy of the original document). All documents lacking a handwritten, wet signature (including all documents bearing an electronic signature) are considered to be copies of the original, signed document, and must be accompanied by a sworn certification or an official certification. Where an actual signature on the relevant document is not a handwritten or typewritten name, such as when an individual clicks a button on a Web site or application to indicate agreement to contractual terms, the remitter must submit a description of the nature of the signature and documentation evidencing the existence of the signature (e.g., a database entry or confirmation email showing that a particular user agreed to the terms by clicking “yes” on a particular date). Where such description and evidence are provided, the Office will make them available for public inspection and may presume that the signature requirement for recordation has been satisfied, without prejudice to any party claiming otherwise, including before a court of competent jurisdiction.
(2) Completeness. Each document submitted for recordation must be, and be certified to be, complete by its terms, but need only include referenced schedules, appendices, exhibits, addenda, or other material essential to understanding the copyright-related aspects of the document.
(3) Legibility. Each document submitted for recordation must be, and be certified to be, legible.
(4) Redactions. The Office will accept and make available for public inspection redacted documents certified to be redacted in accordance with this paragraph (d)(4), provided that all of the following conditions are satisfied:
(i) The redactions must be limited to financial terms, trade secret information, Social Security or taxpayer-identification numbers, and financial account numbers. Additional types of information may be redacted on a case-by-case basis if the need for any such redactions is justified to the Office in writing and approved by the Office; such written requests should be included in the remitter's recordation submission to the Office.
(ii) The blank or blocked-out portions of the document must be labeled “redacted” or the equivalent.
(iii) Each portion of the document required by paragraph (d)(2) of this section must be included.
(5) English language requirement. The Office will accept and record non-English language documents and indexing information only if accompanied by an English translation that is either signed by the individual making the translation or, if a publicly available commercial or consumer translation software product or automated service is used, by the individual using such product or service and accompanied by the name of the product or service. All translations will be made available for public inspection and may be redacted in accordance with paragraph (d)(4) of this section.
(e) Paper submission procedure—
(1) Process. A document may be submitted for recordation by sending it to the appropriate address in §201.1(b) or to such other address as the Office may specify, accompanied by a cover sheet, the proper fee, and, if applicable, any electronic title list. Absent special arrangement with the Office, the Office reserves the right to not process the submission unless all of the items necessary for processing are received together.
(2) Cover sheet required. Submission of a document must include a completed Recordation Document Cover Sheet (Form DCS), available on the Copyright Office Web site. Remitters must follow all instructions provided by the Office in completing Form DCS, including by providing all requested indexing information. Form DCS may be used to provide a sworn certification, if appropriate, and to make any of the other certifications required by this section. Form DCS will not be considered part of the recorded document, but will be used by the Office for examination, indexing, and other administrative purposes. The Office may reject any document submitted for recordation that includes an improperly prepared cover sheet.
(3) Electronic title list.
(i) In addition to identifying the works to which a document pertains in the paper submission, the remitter may also submit an electronic list setting forth each such work. The electronic list will not be considered part of the recorded document, but will be used by the Office for indexing purposes. Absent special arrangement with the Office, the electronic list must be included in the same package as the paper document to be recorded. The electronic list must be prepared and submitted to the Office in the manner specified by the Copyright Office in instructions made available on its Web site. The Office may reject any document submitted for recordation that includes an improperly prepared electronic title list.
(ii) 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 public catalog, the remitter may request that the record be corrected by following the instructions provided by the Office on its Web site. Upon receipt of a properly prepared corrective filing and the appropriate fee, the Office will proceed to correct the information in the public catalog, and will make a note in the record indicating that the corrections were made and the date they were made.
(4) Return receipt. If a remitter includes two copies of a properly completed Form DCS indicating that a return receipt is requested, as well as a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope, the remitter will receive a date-stamped return receipt attached to the extra copy acknowledging the Copyright Office's receipt of the enclosed submission. The completed copies of Form DCS and the self-addressed, postage-paid envelope must be included in the same package as the submitted document. A return receipt confirms the Office's receipt of the submission as of the date indicated, but does not establish eligibility for, or the date of, recordation.
(5) Remitter certification. The remitter must certify that he or she has appropriate authority to submit the document for recordation and that all information submitted to the Office by the remitter is true, accurate, and complete to the best of the remitter's knowledge.
(f) Reliance on remitter-provided information. The Copyright Office will rely on the certifications submitted with a document and the information provided by the remitter on Form DCS and, if provided, in an accompanying electronic title list. The Office will not necessarily confirm the accuracy of such certifications or information against the submitted document.
(g) Effect of recordation. The fact that the Office has recorded a document is not a determination by the Office of the document's validity or legal effect. Recordation of a document by the Copyright Office is without prejudice to any party claiming that the legal or formal requirements for recordation have not been met, including before a court of competent jurisdiction.
(h) Pilot program for electronic submission. The Copyright Office is implementing a limited pilot program through which certain types of documents may be electronically submitted for recordation online by certain remitters (“pilot remitters”). This paragraph (h) shall govern such submissions to the extent they are permitted under the pilot program.
(1) Electronic submission. Pilot remitters may submit permitted types of documents for recordation using the Copyright Office's electronic system pursuant to this section and special pilot program rules provided to pilot remitters by the Office.
(2) Participation. No remitter may participate in the pilot program without the permission of the Copyright Office. Participation in the pilot program is optional and pilot remitters may continue to submit documents for recordation pursuant to paragraph (e) of this section.
(3) Conflicting rules. To the extent any special pilot program rule conflicts with this section or any other regulation, rule, instruction, or guidance issued by the Copyright Office, such pilot program rule shall govern submissions made pursuant to the pilot program.
(4) Reliance on remitter-provided information. Paragraph (f) of this section shall apply to all certifications and information provided to the Office through the electronic system.
(5) Date of recordation. In any situation where the date of recordation for a submission cannot be established or, if established, would ordinarily be changed, if due to an issue with the electronic system, the Office may assign an equitable date as the date of recordation.
[82 FR 52219, Nov. 13, 2017, as amended at 83 FR 52153, Oct. 16, 2018; 84 FR 14255, Apr. 9, 2019; 85 FR 3855, Jan. 23, 2020]