FAQ

Mistakes on Approved Registration

Full Question: What happens if a photographer either incorrectly or incompletely submits an application for registration, but the registration is approved? Does that mean it would be subject to be challenged in court?

Answer: It is difficult to generalize about whether a mistake or error will invalidate a registration. If the mistake was inadvertent and does not have any relevance to the claim in an infringement suit, a court may find that the mistake is immaterial to the suit. However, section 411 of the Copyright Act requires that in any case where the certificate of registration contains inaccurate information knowingly included by the applicant, the court must ask the Register of Copyrights whether the inaccurate information, if known, would have led the Register to refuse registration.

To eliminate uncertainity, when a creator or copyright owner is aware of inaccurate information in a certificate of registration, it would be prudent to correct any such inaccuracies. The only way to correct a certificate of registration is by filing a Supplementary Registration with the required fee of $130. See Compendium (Third) ยค 1802. Supplemental registrations may not alter the deposit, but may correct or amplify information contained in the original application. The supplemental registration will obtain a separate effective date of registration, and the Office defers to courts to determine which date should be applicable in a copyright infringement suit.

Answered by:

Rob Kasunic, Director of Registration Policy and Practices at the U.S. Copyright Office.