The following is a guest post by Alexandra El-Bayeh, registration specialist in the Office of Registration Policy & Practice.
The Copyright Office’s new rule requiring applicants to file supplementary registrations online goes into effect today. On June 15, 2017, the Office published the final rule after receiving comments from the public.
What is a supplementary registration?
Supplementary Registration is a registration that can be used to “correct” or “amplify” information provided in an existing registration. “Corrections” allow applicants to correct information that they provided at the time the registration was made. For example, an applicant could correct the named author or the title of the work. “Amplifications” can either be additional information that could have been included in the original registration but was not (e.g. missing author), changes that occurred after the original registration (e.g., title change), or clarifications of certain information (e.g., a more explicit authorship statement).
Who has to file supplementary registrations online now?
Almost all applicants must submit supplementary registrations electronically now, even if the original application was submitted on paper. The only exceptions are for applicants filing renewal registrations, GATT registrations, and group registration for a database not consisting predominantly of photographs.
In very exceptional circumstances, the Office may waive the electronic filing requirement at the Associate Register’s discretion and subject to conditions. Applicants requesting exceptions should submit their requests by mail to: Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Registration Policy & Practice Registration Program, U.S. Copyright Office, 101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20559.
How do I file online?
Before beginning the process the applicant must review the original basic registration certificate. Applicants can request a copy of a certificate from the Records Research and Certification Section. The Office will only request a copy of the certificate as part of the application if the certificate has not been scanned by the Office yet. If this request is made and the applicant cannot provide the certificate the applicant will be charged an additional fee.
Although most applicants will not need to submit a copy of the certificate, it will still serve as a helpful tool when completing the supplementary registration. The Electronic Copyright Office (eCO) system will prompt the applicant to add the original basic registration number and year. The letters at the beginning of the registration number will also dictate the appropriate “type of work” to select in the online registration (e.g., “PA” is a “work of the performing arts”).
The applicant should then complete the application exactly as it should have appeared in the original registration. In effect, the applicant will complete a new application that includes the corrections and/or missing and new information but otherwise remains the same as the original.
Then, on the certification screen there will be two spaces where the applicant should provide a brief explanation of the correction and/or amplification as appropriate. The applicant should provide the information that appeared in the original basic registration (if applicable) and the changes that appear in the supplemental registration. Applicants should be as specific as possible by referring to the headings of the sections that are affected (e.g., “nature of authorship”).
Where can I find more information?
The Office will be updating Circular 8 and Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices chapters 1400 and 1800 to reflect these changes and provide additional guidance. We will also be developing an online tutorial.
Applicants are always welcome to call our Public Information Office at (202) 707–3000 or 1-877-476-0778 (toll free) for additional guidance and questions.