Mistake on Copyright Registration

Full Question: If I have made a mistake on my registration (e.g. wrong date of publication, etc.) or I have noticed a mistake made by the Copyright Office, must I notify the Copyright Office for the registration to be valid? And, if so, how should I go about correcting this information?

Answer: If you realize the mistake while the application is still awaiting examination, i.e., “in-process,” you may contact the Public Information Office of the U.S. Copyright Office to request the correction to be made if there are relatively minor corrections. If there are more than a few corrections necessary, the Registration Program may send the application back to you for correction and resubmission, or provide the corrections for a fee based on the time spent correcting the errors.

If a certificate of registration has already been issued, the only way to make corrections is by filing a Supplemental Registration on Form CA with the required fee of $130.00. 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.

If you find that the Office made a mistake, please do contact the Public Information Office to report the error. If the Office determines that an error was made by the Office, the mistake will be corrected by the Office and a corrected certificate will be sent, both without charge.

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, ยค 411 requires that for any case in which the certificate of registration contains inaccurate information knowingly included by the applicant, the court must ask the Register of Copyrights to advise the court whether the inaccurate information, if known, would have led the Register to refuse registration.

To eliminate uncertainty 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 in one of the methods discussed as early as possible.

Answered by:

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