Copyright and Preservation–Other Formalities

Commission on Preservation and Access

Copyright and Preservation

C. Other Formalities

This paper has already discussed the importance of publication with notice. The other formalities required by the Act include registering the work with the Copyright Office and depositing two copies with the Library of Congress. The purpose of the deposit requirement is to enrich the collection of the library and to provide the Copyright Office with a copy of the work in case it needs to be consulted as a result of a subsequent claim. The registration requirement creates a written record of the claim of copyright. These issues are not likely to be a major concern, and only a few comments need be made about them.

The 1909 Copyright Act required “prompt” registration and deposit. Deposit of the work was required for registration, but not the reverse. In any case, neither of these formalities was a condition of copyright,74 and their absence did not void a claim of copyright.75 Completion of the registration requirement was, however, necessary before an action for infringement could be initiated; it was also necessary for renewal. If one is investigating a work that should have been renewed under the old Act and there is no record of registration in the Copyright office, it can be presumed to be in the public domain.

As under the old Act, the absence of registration under the new Act does not void the copyright but registration is required before an infringement action can be brought. Moreover, registration can now be used to cure a defect caused by the omission of the statutory notice, a defect that was fatal under the old Act.

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