[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 37, Volume 1]
[Revised as of July 1, 1999]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE: 37CFR202.2]

[Page 418-419]
 
             TITLE 37--PATENTS, TRADEMARKS, AND COPYRIGHTS
 
                                CONGRESS
 
PART 202--REGISTRATION OF CLAIMS TO COPYRIGHT--Table of Contents
 
Sec. 202.2  Copyright notice.

    (a) General. (1) With respect to a work published before January 1, 
1978, copyright was secured, or the right to secure it was lost, except 
for works seeking ad interim copyright, at the date of publication, 
i.e., the date on which copies are first placed on sale, sold, or 
publicly distributed, depending upon the adequacy of the notice of 
copyright on the work at that time. The adequacy of the copyright notice 
for such a work is determined by the copyright statute as it existed on 
the date of first publication.
    (2) If before January 1, 1978, publication occurred by distribution 
of copies or in some other manner, without the statutory notice or with 
an inadequate notice, as determined by the copyright statute as it 
existed on the date of first publication, the right to secure copyright 
was lost. In such cases, copyright cannot be secured by adding the 
notice to copies distributed at a later date.
    (3) Works first published abroad before January 1, 1978, other than 
works for which ad interim copyright has been obtained, must have borne 
an adequate copyright notice. The adequacy of the copyright notice for 
such works is determined by the copyright statute as it existed on the 
date of first publication abroad.
    (b) Defects in notice. Where the copyright notice on a work 
published before January 1, 1978, does not meet the requirements of 
title 17 of the United States Code as it existed on December 31, 1977, 
the Copyright Office will reject an application for copyright 
registration. Common defects in the notice include, among others the 
following:
    (1) The notice lacks one or more of the necessary elements (i.e., 
the word ``Copyright,'' the abbreviation ``Copr.'', or the symbol 
<Copyright>, or, in the case of a sound recording, the symbol 
<Copyright>; the name of the copyright proprietor, or, in the case of a 
sound recording, the name, a recognizable abbreviation of the name, or a 
generally known alternative designation, of the copyright owner; and, 
when required, the year date of publication);
    (2) The elements of the notice are so dispersed that a necessary 
element is not identified as a part of the notice; in the case of a 
sound recording, however, if the producer is named on the label or 
container, and if no other name appears in conjunction with the notice, 
his name will be considered a part of the notice;
    (3) The notice is not in one of the positions prescribed by law;
    (4) The notice is in a foreign language;
    (5) The name in the notice is that of someone who had no authority 
to secure copyright in his name;
    (6) The year date in the copyright notice is later than the date of 
the year in which copyright was actually secured, including the 
following cases:
    (i) Where the year date in the notice is later than the date of 
actual publication;
    (ii) Where copyright was first secured by registration of a work in 
unpublished form, and copies of the same work as later published without 
change in substance bear a copyright notice containing a year date later 
than the year of unpublished registration;
    (iii) Where a book or periodical published abroad, for which ad 
interim copyright has been obtained, is later published in the United 
States without change in substance and contains a year date in the 
copyright notice later than the year of first publication abroad:

Provided, however, That in each of the three foregoing types of cases, 
if the copyright was actually secured not more than one year earlier 
than the year date in the notice, registration may be considered as a 
doubtful case.
    (7) A notice is permanently covered so that it cannot be seen 
without tearing the work apart;
    (8) A notice is illegible or so small that it cannot be read without 
the aid of a magnifying glass: Provided, however, That where the work 
itself requires magnification for its ordinary use (e.g., a microfilm, 
microcard or motion picture) a notice which will be readable when so 
magnified, will not constitute a reason for rejection of the claim;

[[Page 419]]

    (9) A notice is on a detachable tag and will eventually be detached 
and discarded when the work is put in use;
    (10) A notice is on the wrapper or container which is not a part of 
the work and which will eventually be removed and discarded when the 
work is put to use; the notice may be on a container which is designed 
and can be expected to remain with the work;
    (11) The notice is restricted or limited exclusively to an 
uncopyrightable element, either by virtue of its position on the work, 
by the use of asterisks, or by other means.

[24 FR 4956, June 18, 1959; 24 FR 6163, July 31, 1959, as amended at 37 
FR 3055, Feb. 11, 1972; 46 FR 33249, June 29, 1981; 46 FR 34329, July 1, 
1981; 60 FR 34168, June 30, 1995]