Recordation of Transfers and Other Documents

Recording a transfer of copyright ownership or other document pertaining to a copyright with the Copyright Office under 17 U.S.C. § 205 is voluntary. However, to encourage recordation, section 205 of the Copyright Act provides certain legal advantages for doing so, including priority between conflicting transfers and constructive notice of the facts stated in the recorded document when certain conditions are met. Any transfer or other document pertaining to a copyright submitted for recordation must comply with the Copyright Act’s statutory requirements (17 U.S.C. § 205) and the Office’s regulations (37 C.F.R. § 201.4) and instructions, including the following:

  • If the submitted document is the original document, it must bear the actual signature(s) of the person(s) who executed it. If the submitted document is a copy of the original, it must (1) bear a reproduction of the actual signature(s) and (2) be accompanied by a sworn or official certification stating that the copy is a true copy of the original, signed document. An actual signature is any legally binding signature, including an electronic signature. Where a submitted document lacks a handwritten, wet signature (such as when it is signed electronically), the Office considers the document to be a copy, which must be accompanied by a sworn or official certification. 37 C.F.R. § 201.4(d)(1).
  • The document must be complete in accordance with 37 C.F.R. § 201.4(d)(2).
  • The document must be legible in accordance with 37 C.F.R. § 201.4(d)(3).
  • If the document is redacted, it must be redacted in accordance with 37 C.F.R. § 201.4(d)(4).
  • If the document is a non-English language document, an English translation must be provided in accordance with 37 C.F.R. § 201.4(d)(5).
  • The document must be accompanied by the correct filing fee as specified by 37 C.F.R. § 201.3(c).

Cover Sheet

All documents submitted for recordation must be accompanied by the Office’s Document Cover Sheet (Form DCS). Completing Form DCS helps remitters ensure that they are providing all necessary information and assists Office staff in processing the submission. Form DCS and instructions for completing it can be found here.

Electronic Title Lists

In addition to identifying the works to which a document pertains in the paper submission, an electronic title list may also be submitted. An electronic title list is an Excel file containing certain indexing information about the relevant works, such as their titles, type, registration numbers, and authorship information. Submitting an electronic title list is optional, but can significantly shorten the Office’s processing time for recording a document. Consequently, the Office offers a reduced filing fee for submissions that include them. For more information about electronic title lists, including instructions for completing and submitting them, click here.