Recordation Options During the COVID-19 Pandemic
For information related to the Copyright Office’s operations during the COVID-19 health situation, answers to frequently asked questions, and a list of expanded electronic filing options, visit our coronavirus website.
Under the Copyright Act, the U.S. Copyright Office accepts certain types of documents for filing and indexing into the Office’s public records. There are three primary types of documents that may be submitted for recordation: transfers of copyright ownership, other documents pertaining to a copyright, and notices of termination. Once indexed by the Office, recorded documents become available for inspection by the general public.
Transfers of Copyright Ownership
A transfer of copyright ownership is “an assignment, mortgage, exclusive license, or any other conveyance, alienation, or hypothecation of a copyright or of any of the exclusive rights comprised in a copyright, whether or not it is limited in time or place of effect, but not including a nonexclusive license.” 17 U.S.C. § 101.Learn More
Other Documents Pertaining to a Copyright
A document pertaining to a copyright is one 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.” 37 C.F.R. § 201.4(c)(2).Learn More
Notices of Termination
A notice of termination is a notice that terminates a grant to a third party of a copyright in a work or any rights under a copyright. Only certain grants may be terminated, and only in certain circumstances.Learn More
More Information about Recordation
- Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices (Chapter 2300: Recordation)
- Recordation of Transfers and Other Documents (Circular 12)
- Calculating Fees for Recording Documents and Notices of Termination (Circular 12A)
- Document Cover Sheet (Form DCS)
- Notice of Termination Cover Sheet (Form TCS)
- 17 U.S.C. §§ 203, 204, 205, 304(c), 304(d)
- 37 C.F.R. §§ 201.4, 201.10.
- Declarations of Ownership in Musical Works
- Information about submitting other types of documents to the Copyright Office
Current processing times: Generally 12 months for basic filings and 6 months for notices of termination.
Currently processing: August 2019 (basic filings) March 2020 for notice of termination. Due to COVID-19, the Copyright Office Mail Unit is now processing mail submitted in April 2020.
Regardless of the processing time for your recordation(s), the effective date of recordation is the date the Copyright Office receives your complete submission in acceptable form.