Title 37: Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
Part 202—PREREGISTRATION AND REGISTRATION OF CLAIMS TO COPYRIGHT
Subchapter A—Copyright Office and Procedures


§202.2   Copyright notice.

(a) General.

(1) With respect to a work published before January 1, 1978, copyright was secured, or the right to secure it was lost, except for works seeking ad interim copyright, at the date of publication, i.e., the date on which copies are first placed on sale, sold, or publicly distributed, depending upon the adequacy of the notice of copyright on the work at that time. The adequacy of the copyright notice for such a work is determined by the copyright statute as it existed on the date of first publication.

(2) If before January 1, 1978, publication occurred by distribution of copies or in some other manner, without the statutory notice or with an inadequate notice, as determined by the copyright statute as it existed on the date of first publication, the right to secure copyright was lost. In such cases, copyright cannot be secured by adding the notice to copies distributed at a later date.

(3) Works first published abroad before January 1, 1978, other than works for which ad interim copyright has been obtained, must have borne an adequate copyright notice. The adequacy of the copyright notice for such works is determined by the copyright statute as it existed on the date of first publication abroad.

(b) Defects in notice. Where the copyright notice on a work published before January 1, 1978, does not meet the requirements of title 17 of the United States Code as it existed on December 31, 1977, the Copyright Office will reject an application for copyright registration. Common defects in the notice include, among others the following:

(1) The notice lacks one or more of the necessary elements (i.e., the word “Copyright,” the abbreviation “Copr.”, or the symbol ©, or, in the case of a sound recording, the symbol ℗ ; the name of the copyright proprietor, or, in the case of a sound recording, the name, a recognizable abbreviation of the name, or a generally known alternative designation, of the copyright owner; and, when required, the year date of publication);

(2) The elements of the notice are so dispersed that a necessary element is not identified as a part of the notice; in the case of a sound recording, however, if the producer is named on the label or container, and if no other name appears in conjunction with the notice, the producer's name will be considered a part of the notice;

(3) The notice is not in one of the positions prescribed by law;

(4) The notice is in a foreign language;

(5) The name in the notice is that of someone who had no authority to secure copyright in that person's name;

(6)

(i) The year date in the copyright notice is later than the date of the year in which copyright was actually secured, including the following cases:

(A) Where the year date in the notice is later than the date of actual publication;

(B) Where copyright was first secured by registration of a work in unpublished form, and copies of the same work as later published without change in substance bear a copyright notice containing a year date later than the year of unpublished registration; or

(C) Where a book or periodical published abroad, for which ad interim copyright has been obtained, is later published in the United States without change in substance and contains a year date in the copyright notice later than the year of first publication abroad.

(ii) Provided, however, that in each of the three types of cases described in paragraphs (b)(6)(i)(A) through (C) of this section, if the copyright was actually secured not more than one year earlier than the year date in the notice, registration may be considered as a doubtful case;

(7) A notice is permanently covered so that it cannot be seen without tearing the work apart;

(8) A notice is illegible or so small that it cannot be read without the aid of a magnifying glass: Provided, however, That where the work itself requires magnification for its ordinary use (e.g., a microfilm, microcard or motion picture) a notice which will be readable when so magnified, will not constitute a reason for rejection of the claim;

(9) A notice is on a detachable tag and will eventually be detached and discarded when the work is put in use;

(10) A notice is on the wrapper or container which is not a part of the work and which will eventually be removed and discarded when the work is put to use; the notice may be on a container which is designed and can be expected to remain with the work; and

(11) The notice is restricted or limited exclusively to an uncopyrightable element, either by virtue of its position on the work, by the use of asterisks, or by other means.

(c) Methods of affixation and positions of the copyright notice on various types of works

(1) General.

(i) This paragraph specifies examples of methods of affixation and positions of the copyright notice on various types of works that will satisfy the notice requirement of section 401(c) of title 17 of the United States Code, as amended by Public Law 94-553. A notice considered “acceptable” under this regulation shall be considered to satisfy the requirement of that section that it be “affixed to the copies in such manner and location as to give reasonable notice of the claim of copyright.” As provided by that section, the examples specified in this regulation shall not be considered exhaustive of methods of affixation and positions giving reasonable notice of the claim of copyright.

(ii) The provisions of this paragraph are applicable to copies publicly distributed on or after December 1, 1981. This paragraph does not establish any rules concerning the form of the notice or the legal sufficiency of particular notices, except with respect to methods of affixation and positions of notice. The adequacy or legal sufficiency of a copyright notice is determined by the law in effect at the time of first publication of the work.

(2) Definitions. For the purposes of this paragraph:

(i) In the case of a work consisting preponderantly of leaves on which the work is printed or otherwise reproduced on both sides, a “page” is one side of a leaf; where the preponderance of the leaves are printed on one side only, the terms “page” and “leaf” mean the same.

(ii) A work is published in book form if the copies embodying it consist of multiple leaves bound, fastened, or assembled in a predetermined order, as, for example, a volume, booklet, pamphlet, or multipage folder. For the purpose of this paragraph, a work need not consist of textual matter in order to be considered published in “book form.”

(iii) A title page is a page, or two consecutive pages facing each other, appearing at or near the front of the copies of a work published in book form, on which the complete title of the work is prominently stated and on which the names of the author or authors, the name of the publisher, the place of publication, or some combination of them, are given.

(iv) The meaning of the terms front, back, first, last, and following, when used in connection with works published in book form, will vary in relation to the physical form of the copies, depending upon the particular language in which the work is written.

(v) In the case of a work published in book form with a hard or soft cover, the front page and back page of the copies are the outsides of the front and back covers; where there is no cover, the “front page,” and “back page” are the pages visible at the front and back of the copies before they are opened.

(vi) A masthead is a body of information appearing in approximately the same location in most issues of a newspaper, magazine, journal, review, or other periodical or serial, typically containing the title of the periodical or serial, information about the staff, periodicity of issues, operation, and subscription and editorial policies, of the publication.

(vii) A single-leaf work is a work published in copies consisting of a single leaf, including copies on which the work is printed or otherwise reproduced on either one side or on both sides of the leaf, and also folders which, without cutting or tearing the copies, can be opened out to form a single leaf. For the purpose of this paragraph, a work need not consist of textual matter in order to be considered a “single-leaf work.”

(viii) A machine-readable copy is a copy from which the work cannot ordinarily be visually perceived except with the aid of a machine or device, such as magnetic tapes or disks, punched cards, or the like. Works published in a form requiring the use of a machine or device for purposes of optical enlargement (such as film, filmstrips, slide films, and works published in any variety of microform) and works published in visually perceptible form but used in connection with optical scanning devices, are not within this category.

(3) Manner of affixation and position generally.

(i) In all cases dealt with in this paragraph, the acceptability of a notice depends upon its being permanently legible to an ordinary user of the work under normal conditions of use, and affixed to the copies in such manner and position that, when affixed, it is not concealed from view upon reasonable examination.

(ii) Where, in a particular case, a notice does not appear in one of the precise locations prescribed in this paragraph but a person looking in one of those locations would be reasonably certain to find a notice in another somewhat different location, that notice will be acceptable under this paragraph.

(4) Works published in book form. In the case of works published in book form, a notice reproduced on the copies in any of the following positions is acceptable:

(i) The title page, if any;

(ii) The page immediately following the title page, if any;

(iii) Either side of the front cover, if any; or, if there is no front cover, either side of the front leaf of the copies;

(iv) Either side of the back cover, if any; or, if there is no back cover, either side of the back leaf of the copies;

(v) The first page of the main body of the work;

(vi) The last page of the main body of the work;

(vii) Any page between the front page and the first page of the main body of the work, if:

(A) There are no more than ten pages between the front page and the first page of the main body of the work; and

(B) The notice is reproduced prominently and is set apart from other matter on the page where it appears;

(viii) Any page between the last page of the main body of the work and back page, if:

(A) There are no more than ten pages between the last page of the main body of the work and the back page; and

(B) The notice is reproduced prominently and is set apart from the other matter on the page where it appears.

(ix) In the case of a work published as an issue of a periodical or serial, in addition to any of the locations listed in paragraphs (c)(4)(i) through (viii) of this section, a notice is acceptable if it is located:

(A) As a part of, or adjacent to, the masthead;

(B) On the page containing the masthead if the notice is reproduced prominently and is set apart from the other matter appearing on the page; or

(C) Adjacent to a prominent heading, appearing at or near the front of the issue, containing the title of the periodical or serial and any combination of the volume and issue number and date of the issue.

(x) In the case of a musical work, in addition to any of the locations listed in paragraphs (c)(4)(i) through (ix) of this section, a notice is acceptable if it is located on the first page of music.

(5) Single-leaf works. In the case of single-leaf works, a notice reproduced on the copies anywhere on the front or back of the leaf is acceptable.

(6) Contributions to collective works. For a separate contribution to a collective work to be considered to “bear its own notice of copyright,” as provided by 17 U.S.C. 404, a notice reproduced on the copies in any of the following positions is acceptable:

(i) Where the separate contribution is reproduced on a single page, a notice is acceptable if it appears:

(A) Under the title of the contribution on that page;

(B) Adjacent to the contribution; or

(C) On the same page if, through format, wording, or both, the application of the notice to the particular contribution is made clear;

(ii) Where the separate contribution is reproduced on more than one page of the collective work, a notice is acceptable if it appears:

(A) Under a title appearing at or near the beginning of the contribution;

(B) On the first page of the main body of the contribution;

(C) Immediately following the end of the contribution; or

(D) On any of the pages where the contribution appears, if:

(1) The contribution is reproduced on no more than twenty pages of the collective work;

(2) The notice is reproduced prominently and is set apart from other matter on the page where it appears; and

(3) Through format, wording, or both, the application of the notice to the particular contribution is made clear;

(iii) Where the separate contribution is a musical work, in addition to any of the locations listed in paragraphs (c)(6)(i) and (ii) of this section, a notice is acceptable if it is located on the first page of music of the contribution;

(iv) As an alternative to placing the notice on one of the pages where a separate contribution itself appears, the contribution is considered to “bear its own notice” if the notice appears clearly in juxtaposition with a separate listing of the contribution by title, or if the contribution is untitled, by a description reasonably identifying the contribution:

(A) On the page bearing the copyright notice for the collective work as a whole, if any; or

(B) In a clearly identified and readily-accessible table of contents or listing of acknowledgements appearing near the front or back of the collective work as a whole.

(7) Works reproduced in machine-readable copies. For works reproduced in machine-readable copies, each of the following constitutes an example of acceptable methods of affixation and position of notice:

(i) A notice embodied in the copies in machine-readable form in such a manner that on visually perceptible printouts it appears either with or near the title, or at the end of the work;

(ii) A notice that is displayed at the user's terminal at sign on;

(iii) A notice that is continuously on terminal display; or

(iv) A legible notice reproduced durably, so as to withstand normal use, on a gummed or other label securely affixed to the copies or to a box, reel, cartridge, cassette, or other container used as a permanent receptacle for the copies.

(8) Motion pictures and other audiovisual works.

(i) The following constitute examples of acceptable methods of affixation and positions of the copyright notice on motion pictures and other audiovisual works: A notice that is embodied in the copies by a photomechanical or electronic process, in such a position that it ordinarily would appear whenever the work is performed in its entirety, and that is located:

(A) With or near the title;

(B) With the cast, credits, and similar information;

(C) At or immediately following the beginning of the work; or

(D) At or immediately preceding the end of the work.

(ii) In the case of an untitled motion picture or other audiovisual work whose duration is sixty seconds or less, in addition to any of the locations listed in paragraph (c)(8)(i) of this section, a notice that is embodied in the copies by a photomechanical or electronic process, in such a position that it ordinarily would appear to the projectionist or broadcaster when preparing the work for performance, is acceptable if it is located on the leader of the film or tape immediately preceding the beginning of the work.

(iii) In the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work that is distributed to the public for private use, the notice may be affixed, in addition to the locations specified in paragraph (c)(8)(i) of this section, on the housing or container, if it is a permanent receptacle for the work.

(9) Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works. The following constitute examples of acceptable methods of affixation and positions of the copyright notice on various forms of pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works:

(i) Where a work is reproduced in two-dimensional copies, a notice affixed directly or by means of a label cemented, sewn, or otherwise attached durably, so as to withstand normal use, of the front or back of the copies, or to any backing, mounting, matting, framing, or other material to which the copies are durably attached, so as to withstand normal use, or in which they are permanently housed, is acceptable.

(ii) Where a work is reproduced in three-dimensional copies, a notice affixed directly or by means of a label cemented, sewn, or otherwise attached durably, so as to withstand normal use, to any visible portion of the work, or to any base, mounting, framing, or other material on which the copies are durably attached, so as to withstand normal use, or in which they are permanently housed, is acceptable.

(iii) Where, because of the size or physical characteristics of the material in which the work is reproduced in copies, it is impossible or extremely impracticable to affix a notice to the copies directly or by means of a durable label, a notice is acceptable if it appears on a tag that is of durable material, so as to withstand normal use, and that is attached to the copy with sufficient durability that it will remain with the copy while it is passing through its normal channels of commerce.

(iv) Where a work is reproduced in copies consisting of sheet-like or strip material bearing multiple or continuous reproductions of the work, the notice may be applied:

(A) To the reproduction itself;

(B) To the margin, selvage, or reverse side of the material at frequent and regular intervals; or

(C) If the material contains neither a selvage nor a reverse side, to tags or labels, attached to the copies and to any spools, reels, or containers housing them in such a way that a notice is visible while the copies are passing through their normal channels of commerce.

(v) If the work is permanently housed in a container, such as a game or puzzle box, a notice reproduced on the permanent container is acceptable.


[24 FR 4956, June 18, 1959; 24 FR 6163, July 31, 1959, as amended at 37 FR 3055, Feb. 11, 1972; 46 FR 33249, June 29, 1981; 46 FR 34329, July 1, 1981; 60 FR 34168, June 30, 1995; 66 FR 34373, June 28, 2001; 66 FR 40322, Aug. 2, 2001; 77 FR 18707, Mar. 28, 2012; 77 FR 20988, Apr. 9, 2012; 82 FR 9359, Feb. 6, 2017; 82 FR 42736, Sept. 12, 2017]


Source: GPO Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) (ecfr.gov)
Data current as of January 18, 2018