Title 37: Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
Subchapter A—Copyright Office and Procedures

§201.4   Recordation of transfers and certain other documents.

(a) General.

(1) This section prescribes conditions for the recordation of transfers of copyright ownership and other documents pertaining to a copyright under section 205 of title 17 of the United States Code. The filing or recordation of the following documents is not within the provisions of this section:

(i) Certain contracts entered into by cable systems located outside of the 48 contiguous States (17 U.S.C. 111(e); see 37 CFR 201.12);

(ii) 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 37 CFR 201.11; 201.17; 201.28);

(iii) Notices of intention to obtain compulsory license to make and distribute phonorecords of nondramatic musical works (17 U.S.C. 115(b); see 37 CFR 201.18);

(iv) Notices of termination (17 U.S.C. 203, 304(c) and (d); see 37 CFR 201.10); and

(v) Statements regarding the identity of authors of anonymous and pseudonymous works, and statements relating to the death of authors (17 U.S.C. 302).

(2) A transfer of copyright ownership has the meaning set forth in section 101 of title 17 of the United States Code. A document shall be considered to “pertain to a copyright” if it has a direct or indirect relationship to the existence, scope, duration, or identification of a copyright, or to the ownership, division, allocation, licensing, transfer, or exercise of rights under a copyright. That relationship may be past, present, future, or potential.

(3) For purposes of this section:

(i) A sworn certification is an affidavit under the official seal of any officer authorized to administer oaths within the United States, or if the original is located outside of the United States, under the official seal of any diplomatic or consular officer of the United States or of a person authorized to administer oaths whose authority is proved by the certificate of such an officer, or a statement in accordance with section 1746 of title 28 of the United States Code; and

(ii) An official certification is a certification, by the appropriate Government official, that the original of the document is on file in a public office and that the reproduction is a true copy of the original.

(b) Forms. Persons recording documents are encouraged, but not required, to complete and include a Recordation Document Cover Sheet (Form DCS), available on the Copyright Office website, with their submissions; provided, however, that if the remitter seeks a return receipt as provided in paragraph (f) of this section, then Form DCS is required. Form DCS may also be used to satisfy the sworn certification requirement of 17 U.S.C. 205(a), as provided in paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section. If Form DCS is used, two copies of the completed form should accompany each document submitted for recordation, one of which will become part of the public record.

(c) Document submission contents and process. Any transfer of copyright ownership (including any instrument of conveyance, or note or memorandum of the transfer), or any other document pertaining to a copyright, may be recorded in the Copyright Office if it is accompanied by the fee set forth in paragraph (d) of this section, and if the requirements of this paragraph with respect to signatures, completeness, and legibility are met.

(1) To be recordable, the document must bear the actual signature or signatures of the person or persons who executed it. Alternatively, the document may be recorded if it is a legible photocopy or other legible facsimile reproduction of the signed document, accompanied by a sworn certification or an official certification that the reproduction is a true copy of the signed document. Any sworn certification accompanying a reproduction shall be signed by at least one of the parties to the signed document, or by an authorized representative of that person.

(2) To be recordable, the document must be complete by its own terms.

(i) A document that contains a reference to any schedule, appendix, exhibit, addendum, or other material as being attached to the document or made a part of it shall be recordable only if the attachment is also submitted for recordation with the document or if the reference is deleted by the parties to the document. If a document has been submitted for recordation and has been returned by the Copyright Office at the request of the sender for deletion of the reference to an attachment, the document will be recorded only if the deletion is signed or initialed by the persons who executed the document or by their authorized representatives. In exceptional cases a document containing a reference to an attachment will be recorded without the attached material and without deletion of the reference if the person seeking recordation submits a written request specifically asserting that:

(A) The attachment is completely unavailable for recordation; and

(B) The attachment is not essential to the identification of the subject matter of the document; and

(C) It would be impossible or wholly impracticable to have the parties to the document sign or initial a deletion of the reference.

In such exceptional cases, the Copyright Office records of the document will be annotated to show that recordation was made in response to a specific request under this paragraph.

(ii) If a document otherwise recordable under this title indicates on its face that it is a self-contained part of a larger instrument (for example: if it is designated “Attachment A” or “Exhibit B”), the Copyright Office will raise the question of completeness, but will record the document if the person requesting recordation asserts that the document is sufficiently complete as it stands.

(iii) When the document submitted for recordation merely identifies or incorporates by reference another document, or certain terms of another document, the Copyright Office will raise no question of completeness, and will not require recordation of the other document.

(3) To be recordable, the document must be legible and capable of being imaged or otherwise reproduced in legible copies by the technology employed by the Office at the time of submission.

(4) Submission of electronic title lists. If a document submitted for recordation pertains to 100 or more titles of copyrighted works (including where the total number of titles across multiple title lists associated with the document is 100 or more), in addition to identifying the titles in the paper submission, the remitting party may also submit an electronic list (or lists) setting forth each such title, as provided herein. The electronic list(s) shall not be considered a part of the recorded document and shall function only as a means to index titles and other information associated with the recorded document. When the Office uses an electronic title list submitted by a remitter for indexing purposes, it will make a note of this fact in the record.

(i) Method of submitting electronic title lists. Absent a special arrangement with the Office, the electronic list must be included in the same package as the paper document to be recorded. The list must be prepared in a format consistent with the requirements in paragraph (c)(4)(ii) of this section, and stored on a compact disc, flash drive, or other digital storage medium approved by the Copyright Office that is clearly labeled with the following information: The name of the remitting party, the name of the first party listed in the paper document, the first title listed in the paper document, the number of titles included in the paper document, and the date the remitting party mailed or delivered the paper document.

(ii) Format requirements for electronic title lists. Any electronic list of titles submitted pursuant to this paragraph (c)(4) shall conform to the requirements of this subparagraph. The electronic list of titles shall:

(A) Consist of a table contained in an electronic file in Excel (.xls) format or an equivalent electronic format approved by the Office;

(B) Include only letters, numbers, and printable characters that appear in the ASCII 128-character set;

(C) Include four columns respectively entitled, from left to right, Article, Title, Authorship Information, and Registration Number(s);

(D) List each title on a separate row of the electronic table, and include the following information for each title in the appropriate column, as applicable:

(1) First column: Article. If the title of the work begins with one of the articles specified in the following list, the article should be separated from the title and placed in this column. If the title does not begin with one of the specified articles, the column must still be included, but this field should be left blank. The list of leading articles is as follows:

(i) English: A, An, The

(ii) Spanish: Un, Una, El, La, Lo, Las, Los

(iii) French: L', Le, La, Les, Un, Une

(iv) German: Der, Die, Das, Einer, Eine, Ein;

(2) Second column: Title. The title of the work, not including any leading article;

(3) Third column: Authorship Information. The word “By” followed by the author or authors of the work. Where applicable, include designations such as “performer known as” or “also known as,” or the abbreviated form of such designations. Abbreviated designations must omit any punctuation between letters, for example “pka” (not “p/k/a”); and

(4) Fourth column: Registration Number(s). The copyright registration number or numbers, separated by commas. This field is optional; if registration numbers are not being supplied for any title in the submission, this column should still be included, but left blank. Regardless of how they appear in the paper document, registration numbers included in the electronic list must be twelve characters long, must include a one-, two-, or three-letter prefix in all capital letters, and must not include spaces or hyphens. If a given registration number consists of fewer than twelve characters in the original, the remitting party should add leading zeroes to the numeric portion of the registration number before adding it to the list. For example, a published work with the registration number “SR-320-918” should be transcribed into the electronic list as “SR0000320918,” and an unpublished work with the registration number “VAu-598-764” should be transcribed into the electronic list as “VAU000598764.”

(iii) Remitters to bear consequences of inaccurate electronic title lists. The Office will rely on the electronic list of titles for purposes of indexing recorded documents in the Public Catalog. The remitter will bear the consequences, if any, of any inaccuracies in the electronic list in relation to the recorded document, including with respect to the application of 17 U.S.C. 205(c) and 205(d).

(iv) Treatment of improperly prepared electronic title lists. The Office reserves the right to reject an electronic title list from any party that is shown to have submitted an improperly prepared file.

(v) Correction of erroneous title lists. 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 submitting a corrected version of the electronic title list. The remitter must submit the complete, corrected list of electronic titles in accordance with the method and format requirements set forth in paragraphs (c)(4)(i) and (ii) of this section, with each corrected row in the table identified by color highlighting. The table header should contain the phrase “CORRECTED TITLE LIST.” The volume and document number of the associated recorded document should also be included in the header, as well as in the title of the computer file containing the electronic title list. In submitting the list the remitter should include a cover letter that clearly references the volume and document number of the recorded document, the name of the remitting party, the name of the first party listed in the paper document, and the first title listed in the paper document. Upon receipt of a corrected electronic list in proper form and the appropriate fee, the Office will proceed to correct the data in the online Public Catalog, and will make a note in the record indicating that the corrections were made and the date they were made.

(d) Fees. The fees for recordation of a document are prescribed in §201.3(c).

(e) Recordation. The date of recordation is the date when a proper document under paragraph (c) of this section and a proper fee under paragraph (d) of this section are all received in the Copyright Office. After recordation the document is returned to the sender with a certificate of recordation.

(f) Return receipt. If, with a document submitted for recordation, a remitter includes two copies of a properly completed Recordation Document Cover Sheet (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 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.

(17 U.S.C. 205, 702, 708)

[43 FR 35044, Aug. 8, 1978, as amended at 53 FR 123, Jan. 5, 1988; 56 FR 59885, Nov. 26, 1991; 64 FR 29521, June 1, 1999; 65 FR 39819, June 28, 2000; 67 FR 69136, Nov. 15, 2002; 70 FR 38022, July 1, 2005; 74 FR 12556, Mar. 25, 2009; 77 FR 71103, Nov. 29, 2012; 79 FR 55635, Sept. 17, 2014; 79 FR 68623, Nov. 18, 2014; 82 FR 9356, Feb. 6, 2017]

Source: GPO Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) (ecfr.gov)
Data current as of April 21, 2017