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Remember that registration within a certain time period of creation of a=
 work entitles you to certain legal remedies which may be of value should=
 infringement occur.

Here are some url's and some of the relevant info:


U.S. Copyright Office General Information and Publications

     Copyright Basics=20
     Copyright Registration=20
     Copyright Application Forms=20
     Copyright Information Circulars=20
     Form Letters -- In Answer to Your Query=20
     Mandatory Deposit Requirements of the U.S. Copyright Law=20
     Copyright Office Records -- How to conduct a search
     Copyright Office Announcements, including Federal Regulations=20
     CARP & Licensing Information=20
     Fax on Demand -- Copyright information via fax=20

Other Copyright Topics

     Pending Copyright Legislation in the 105th Congress=20
     World Intellectual Property Organization Diplomatic Conference=
 Preparatory Documents=20
     World Intellectual Property Organization Diplomatic Conference-- New=
 Treaties =20
     CORDS (Copyright Office Electronic Registration, Recordation & Deposit=
     URAA, GATT amends U.S. law=20
     More Information About Copyright=20
     Internet Resources Related to Copyright=20

                         COPYRIGHT BASICS

                                           Table of Contents

     What Copyright Is=20
     Who Can Claim Copyright=20
     Copyright and National Origin of the Work=20
     What Works are Protected=20
     What is Not Protected by Copyright=20
     How to Secure Copyright=20
     Notice of Copyright=20
          Form of Notice for Visually Perceptible Copies=20
          Form of Notice for Phonorecords of Sound Recordings=20
          Position of Notice=20
          Publications Incorporating U.S. Government Works=20
     How Long Copyright Protection Endures=20
     Transfer of Copyright=20
          Terminations of Transfers=20
     International Copyright Protection=20
     Copyright Registration=20
     Registration Procedures=20
          In General=20
          Special Deposit Requirements=20
          Unpublished Collections=20
     Corrections and Amplifications of Existing Registration=20
     Mandatory Deposit For Works Published in the United States=20
     Use of Mandatory Deposity to Satisfy Registration Requirements=20
     Who May File an Application Form=20
     Application Forms=20
     Incomplete Submissions=20
     Effective Date Registration=20
     Search of Copyright Office Records=20
     Available Information=20


Copyright Secured Automatically Upon Creation=20

The way in which copyright protection is secured under the present law is=
 frequently misunderstood. No publication
or registration or other action in the Copyright Office is required to=
 secure copyright (see following NOTE). There
are, however, certain definite advantages to registration.=20

* * * *=20

NOTE: Before 1978, statutory copyright was generally secured by the act of=
 publication with notice of copyright,
assuming compliance with all other relevant statutory conditions. U.S. works=
 in the public domain on January 1,
1978 ( for example, works published without satisfying all conditions for=
 securing statutory copyright under the
Copyright Act of 1909) remain in the public domain under the current act.=20

Certain foreign works originally published without notice had their=
 copyrights re (section 304 sets the term)
copyright for all works including those subject to ad interim copyright if=
 ad interim registration has been made on or
before June 30, 1978.=20

* * * *=20

Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and a work is=
 "created" when it is fixed in a copy or
phonorecord for the first time. "Copies" are material objects from which a=
 work can be read or visually perceived
either directly or with the aid of a machine or device, such as books,=
 manuscripts, sheet music, film, videotape, or
microfilm. "Phonorecords" are material objects embodying fixations of sounds=
 (excluding, by statutory definition,
motion picture soundtracks), such as cassette tapes, CD's, or LP's. Thus,=
 for example, a song (the "work") can be
fixed in sheet music ("copies") or in phonograph disks ("phonorecords"), or=

If a work is prepared over a period of time, the part of the work that is=
 fixed on a particular date constitutes the
created work as of that date.=20


Publication is no longer the key to obtaining statutory copyright as it was=
 under the Copyright Act of 1909.
However, publication remains important to copyright owners.=20

The Copyright Act defines publication as follows:=20

"Publication" is the distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the=
 public by sale or other transfer of
ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. The offering to distribute=
 copies or phonorecords to a group of persons
for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display=
 constitutes publication. A public
performance or display of a work does not of itself constitute publication.=

A further discussion of the definition of "publication" can be found in the=
 legislative history of the Act. The
legislative reports define "to the public" as distribution to persons under=
 no explicit or implicit restrictions with
respect to disclosure of the contents. The reports state that the definition=
 makes it clear that the sale of phonorecords
constitutes publication of the underlying work, for example, the musical,=
 dramatic, or literary work embodied in a
phonorecord. The reports also state that it is clear that any form of=
 dissemination in which the material object does
not change hands, for example, performances or displays on television, is=
 not a publication no matter how many
people are exposed to the work. However, when copies or phonorecords are=
 offered for sale or lease to a group of
wholesalers, broadcasters, or motion picture theaters, publication does take=
 place if the purpose is further
distribution, public performance, or public display.=20

Publication is an important concept in the copyright law for several=

     When a work is published, it may bear a notice of copyright to identify=
 the year of publication and the name of
     the copyright owner and to inform the public that the work is protected=
 by copyright. Works published before
     March 1, 1989, must bear the notice or risk loss of copyright=
 protection. (See discussion "notice of copyright"

     Works that are published in the United States are subject to mandatory=
 deposit with the Library of Congress.
     (See discussion on "mandatory deposit," below.)=20

     Publication of a work can affect the limitations on the exclusive=
 rights of the copyright owner that are set forth
     in sections 107 through 120 of the law.=20

     The year of publication may determine the duration of copyright=
 protection for anonymous and pseudonymous
     works (when the author's identity is not revealed in the records of the=
 Copyright Office) and for works made
     for hire.=20

     Deposit requirements for registration of published works differ from=
 those for registration of unpublished
     works. (See discussion on "registration procedures," below.)=20


For works first published on and after March 1, 1989, use of the copyright=
 notice is optional, though highly
recommended. Before March 1, 1989, the use of the notice was mandatory on=
 all published works, and any work
first published before that date must bear a notice or risk loss of=
 copyright protection.=20

(The Copyright Office does not take a position on whether works first=
 published with notice before March 1, 1989,
and reprinted and distributed on and after March 1, 1989, must bear the=
 copyright notice.)=20

Use of the notice is recommended because it informs the public that the work=
 is protected by copyright, identifies
the copyright owner, and shows the year of first publication. Furthermore,=
 in the event that a work is infringed, if
the work carries a proper notice, the court will not allow a defendant to=
 claim "innocent infringement"--that is, that
he or she did not realize that the work is protected. (A successful innocent=
 infringement claim may result in a
reduction in damages that the copyright owner would otherwise receive.)=20

The use of the copyright notice is the responsibility of the copyright owner=
 and does not require advance permission
from, or registration with, the Copyright Office.=20

Form of Notice for Visually Perceptible Copies=20

The notice for visually perceptible copies should contain all of the=
 following three elements:=20

1. The symbol =A9 (the letter in a circle), or the word "Copyright" or the=
 abbreviation "Copr."; and=20

2. The year of first publication of the work. In the case of compilations or=
 derivative works incorporating
previously published material, the year date of first publication of the=
 compilation or derivative work is sufficient.
The year date may be omitted where a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work,=
 with accompanying textual matter, if
any, is reproduced in or on greeting cards, postcards, stationery, jewelry,=
 dolls, toys, or any useful article; and=20

3. The name of the owner of copyright in the work, or an abbreviation by=
 which the name can be recognized, or a
generally known alternative designation of the owner.=20

                                        Example: =A9 1995 John Doe

The "C in a circle" notice is used only on "visually perceptible copies."=
 Certain kinds of works--for example,
musical, dramatic, and literary works--may be fixed not in "copies" but by=
 means of sound in an audio recording.
Since audio recordings such as audio tapes and phonograph disks are=
 "phonorecords" and not "copies," the "C in a
circle" notice is not used to indicate protection of the underlying musical,=
 dramatic, or literary work that is recorded.=20


Although a copyright registration is not required, the Copyright Act=
 establishes a mandatory deposit requirement for
works published in the United States (see definition of "publication,"=
 above). In general, the owner of copyright or
the owner of the exclusive right of publication in the work has a legal=
 obligation to deposit in the Copyright Office,
within 3 months of publication in the United States, 2 copies (or in the=
 case of sound recordings, 2 phonorecords)
for the use of the Library of Congress. Failure to make the deposit can=
 result in fines and other penalties but does
not affect copyright protection.=20

Certain categories of works are exempt entirely from the mandatory deposit=
 requirements, and the obligation is
reduced for certain other categories. For further information about=
 mandatory deposit, request Circular 7d.=20


For works published in the United States the Copyright Act contains a=
 provision under which a single deposit can be
made to satisfy both the deposit requirements for the Library and the=
 registration requirements. In order to have this
dual effect, the copies or phonorecords must be accompanied by the=
 prescribed application and filing fee.=20


Circular 7d
             Mandatory Deposit of Copies or Phonorecords         =20
                      for the Library of Congress                =20
               (Under Section 407 of the Copyright Act)


      On January 1, 1978, all works published with a notice of
copyright in the United States became subject to the mandatory
deposit requirements of the United States Copyright Act (title 17,
United States Code). These requirements are similar to the "legal
deposit" or "depot legal" laws in effect in other

      On March 1, 1989, the qualification "with notice of
copyright" was eliminated from the mandatory deposit provision.
This change was made in Public Law 100-568, the Berne Convention
Implementation Act of 1988. As a result of this change, all works
under copyright  protection and published in the United States on
or after March 1, 1989, are subject to mandatory deposit whether
published with or without a notice.

      The mandatory deposit provision ensures that the Copyright
Office is entitled to receive copies of every copyrightable work
published in the United States. Section 704 of the Copyright Act
states that these deposits "are available to the Library of
Congress for its collections, or for exchange or transfer to any
other library."


      Section 407 of the copyright law requires the "owner of
copyright or of the exclusive right of publication" in a work
published in the United States to deposit the required number of
copies in the Copyright Office within 3 months of the date of such

      Publication is defined in the copyright law as "the
distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by
sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or

      Deposits should be sent to:                                =20
      Register of Copyrights                                     =20
      Attn: 407 Deposits                                         =20
      Library of Congress                                        =20
      Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

      Under section 407, deposit for the collections of the Library
of Congress is mandatory; registration of a copyright claim under
section 408 is voluntary. While not a condition of copyright
protection, registration may under certain circumstances allow the
owner a broader range of remedies in infringement suits. To satisfy
requirements for both, the following must be sent in one package to
the Register of Copyrights: (1) mandatory deposit copies, (2) a
completed application for registration, and (3) a $20 nonrefundable
filing fee payable to the Register of Copyrights.


The law envisions that deposit will be made voluntarily to satisfy
this requirement. To enforce this legal obligation, however, or to
ensure a more rapid deposit of a work the Library needs promptly,
the Register of Copyrights may make a written demand for the
required deposit at any time after publication. If the required
deposit is not made within 3 months of the demand, the person or
organization obligated to make the deposit is liable for a fine
of not more than $250 for each work plus the retail price of the
copies; if the refusal to comply is willful or repeated, an added
fine of $2,500 may be

      Although the deposit requirements are limited to works
published in the United States, they do apply to a work that was
first published in a foreign country as soon as that work is
published in the United States through the distribution of copies
or phonorecords that are either imported or are part of an American

      In general, the deposit must consist of two complete copies
or phonorecords of the best edition of the work.  If the work is a
sound recording, the deposit must include two complete phonorecords
of the best edition, plus any text or pictorial matter published
with the phonorecord. Examples of the textual material include all
phonorecord packaging, record sleeves, and separate leaflets or
booklets enclosed with the phonorecords (compact disks, albums, or

      If the work is a motion picture, the deposit consists of one
complete copy of the best edition, plus a separate description of
its contents such as a continuity, press book, or synopsis.

      If the work is machine readable in an IBM or Apple Macintosh
compatible format, including CD-ROMs, the deposit consists of one
complete copy of the best edition if it is not copy protected, plus
any documentation such as a user's guide. If the work is copy=20
protected, the deposit consists of two copies of the best edition
plus any documentation.

      Under a special deposit agreement with the Library,=20
CD-ROM publishers may (1) deposit one copy and authorize local area
network use in Library Reading Rooms for up to five simultaneous
users or (2) deposit two copies. For further information on the
agreement, write to the Chief of the Copyright Acquisitions
Division (address is below).


      The definition of best edition in the law makes it clear that
the Library of Congress is entitled to receive the copies or
phonorecords of the edition that best suits its needs. Its choice
may be made from any editions that have been published in the
United States before the date of deposit.

      When two or more editions of the same version of a work have
been published before the date of deposit, the Library of Congress
generally considers the one of the highest quality to be the best
edition. If, on the date of deposit, a better edition exists but is
not submitted, the Copyright Office is entitled to request the
better edition on behalf of the Library of Congress. The Library of
Congress lists criteria to follow in judging quality in its current
"best edition" statement. When the criteria listed do not apply
to a particular work, the Copyright Office will confer with
appropriate officials of the Library of Congress to obtain a
determination as to the best edition of that work.

      For a detailed description of the "best edition" criteria,
write to the following address for Circular 7b:

      Publications Section, LM-455                               =20
      Copyright Office                                           =20
      Library of Congress                                        =20
      Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

or call the 24-hour forms and circulars hotline at (202) 707-9100
and leave a recorded message.

      Because many deposits are not suitable for addition to the
Library of Congress collections or for use in national library
programs, the Copyright Office has issued regulations that exempt
certain categories of works entirely from the mandatory deposit
requirements. These regulations also reduce the required number of
copies or phonorecords from two to one for certain other
categories. For further information about these regulations, see
Part 202 of 37 CFR, Chapter II, or write to the Copyright Office.


      Under special circumstances, special relief from deposit
requirements may be requested for any published work not exempt
from mandatory deposit. Requests are most frequently based on undue
burden or cost to a copyright owner. The grant of special relief is
discretionary with the Copyright Office and will depend on a
careful balance of the acquisition policies of the Library of
Congress, the examining requirements of the Copyright Office (if
registration is sought), and the hardship to the copyright owner.

      Requests must set forth specific reasons why special relief
should be granted and must be signed by or on behalf of the owner
of copyright or the owner of the exclusive right of publication in
the work. They should be sent as follows:

a. If registration is sought:
        Chief, Examining Division                                =20
        Copyright Office                                         =20
        Library of Congress                                      =20
        Washington, D.C. 20559-6000=20
        Fax: (202) 707-3698=20

b. If only mandatory deposit is to be made:
        Chief, Copyright Acquisitions Division                   =20
        Copyright Office                                         =20
        Library of Congress                                      =20
        Washington, D.C. 20559-4130                              =20
        Fax:  (202) 707-4435

There is also a copyright website At:



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