[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: 37CFR201.2]

[Page 340-342]
PART 201--GENERAL PROVISIONS--Table of Contents
Sec. 201.2  Information given by the Copyright Office.

    (a) In general. (1) Information relative to the operations of the 
Copyright Office is supplied without charge. A search of the records, 
indexes, and deposits will be made for such information as they may 
contain relative to copyright claims upon application and payment of the 
statutory fee. The Copyright Office, however, does not undertake the 
making of comparisons of copyright deposits to determine similarity 
between works.
    (2) The Copyright Office does not furnish the names of copyright 
attorneys, publishers, agents, or other similar information.
    (3) In the administration of the Copyright Act in general, the 
Copyright Office interprets the Act. The Copyright Office, however, does 
not give specific legal advice on the rights of persons, whether in 
connection with particular uses of copyrighted works, cases of alleged 
foreign or domestic copyright infringement, contracts between authors 
and publishers, or other matters of a similar nature.
    (b) Inspection and copying of records. (1) Inspection and copying of 
completed records and indexes relating to a registration or a recorded 
document, and inspection of copies or identifying material deposited in 
connection with a completed copyright registration may be undertaken in 
the Certifications and Documents Section. Since some of these materials 
are not stored on the immediate premises of the Copyright Office, it is 
advisable to consult the Certifications and Documents Section to 
determine the length of time necessary to produce the requested 
    (2) It is the general policy of the Copyright Office to deny direct 
public access to in-process files and to any work (or other) areas where 
they are kept. However, direct public use of computers intended to 
access the automated equivalent of limited portions of these files is 
permitted on a specified terminal in the Records Maintenance Unit, LM B-
14, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, upon payment of 
applicable fees.
    (3) Information contained in Copyright Office in-process files may 
be obtained by anyone upon payment of applicable fees and request to the 
Information and Reference Division, in accordance with the following 
    (i) In general, all requests by the public for information in the 
in-process and open unfinished business files should be made to the 
Certifications and Documents Section, which upon receipt of applicable 
fees will give a report that provides the following for each request:
    (A) The date(s) of receipt of:
    (1) The application(s) for registration that may have been submitted 
and is (are) in process;
    (2) The document(s) that may have been submitted for recordation and 
is (are) in process;
    (3) The copy or copies (or phonorecords) that may have been 
    (B) The title of the work(s); and
    (C) The name of the remitter.
    (ii) Such searches of the in-process files will be given priority to 
the extent permitted by the demands of normal work flow of the affected 
sections of the Copyright Office.
    (4) Access will be afforded as follows to pending applications for 
registration, the deposit material accompanying them, and pending 
documents for recordation that were submitted

[[Page 341]]

within the twelve month period immediately preceding the request for 
    (i) In the case of applications for registration and deposits 
accompanying them, upon the request of the copyright claimant or his/her 
authorized representative, and
    (ii) In the case of documents, upon the request of at least one of 
the persons who executed the document or by an authorized representative 
of that person.

These requests should be made to the Public Information Office, and the 
review of the materials will be permitted there. No charge will be made 
for reviewing these materials; the appropriate search fee identified in 
Sec. 201.3(c) or Sec. 201.3(d) will be assessed, and the appropriate 
copying fee identified in Sec. 201.3(c) or Sec. 201.3(d) will be 
assessed if the claimant wants and is entitled to a copy of the 
    (5) In exceptional circumstances, the Register of Copyrights may 
allow inspection of pending applications and open correspondence files 
by someone other than the copyright claimant, upon submission of a 
written request which is deemed by the Register to show good cause for 
such access and establishes that the person making the request is one 
properly and directly concerned. The written request should be addressed 
to Copyright GC/I&R, P.O. Box 70400, Southwest Station, Washington, DC 
    (6) In no case will direct public access be permitted to any 
financial or accounting records.
    (7) The Copyright Office maintains administrative staff manuals 
referred to as its ``Compendium of Office Practices I'' and ``Compendium 
of Office Practices II'' for the general guidance of its staff in making 
registrations and recording documents. The manuals, as amended and 
supplemented from time to time, are available for purchase from the 
National Technical Information Service (Compendium I) and the Government 
Printing Office (Compendium II). They are also available for public 
inspection and copying in the Certifications and Documents Section.
    (c) Correspondence. (1) Official correspondence, including 
preliminary applications, between copyright claimants or their agents 
and the Copyright Office, and directly relating to a completed 
registration, a recorded document, a rejected application for 
registration, or a document for which recordation was refused is 
available for public inspection. Included in the correspondence 
available for public inspection is that portion of the file directly 
relating to a completed registration, recorded document, a rejected 
application for registration, or a document for which recordation was 
refused which was once open to public inspection as a closed case, even 
if the case is subsequently reopened. Public inspection is available 
only for the correspondence contained in the file during the time it was 
closed because of one of the aforementioned actions. Correspondence 
relating to the reopening of the file and reconsideration of the case is 
considered part of an in-process file until final action is taken, and 
public inspection of that correspondence is governed by Sec. 201.2(b). 
Requests for reproductions of the correspondence shall be made pursuant 
to paragraph (d) of this section.
    (2) Correspondence, application forms, and any accompanying material 
forming a part of a pending application are considered in-process files 
and access to them is governed by paragraph (b) of this section.
    (3) Correspondence, memoranda, reports, opinions, and similar 
material relating to internal matters of personnel and procedures, 
office administration, security matters, and internal consideration of 
policy and decisional matters including the work product of an attorney, 
are not open to public inspection.
    (4) The Copyright Office will return unanswered any abusive or 
scurrilous correspondence.
    (d) Requests for copies. (1) Requests for copies of records should 
include the following:
    (i) A clear identification of the type of records desired (for 
example, additional certificates of registration, copies of 
correspondence, copies of deposits).
    (ii) A specification of whether the copies are to be certified or 
    (iii) A clear identification of the specific records to be copied. 

[[Page 342]]

should include the following specific information, if possible:
    (A) The type of work involved (for example, novel, lyrics, 
    (B) The registration number;
    (C) The year date or approximate year date of registration;
    (D) The complete title of the work;
    (E) The author(s) including any pseudonym by which the author may be 
known; and
    (F) The claimant(s); and
    (G) If the requested copy is of an assignment, license, contract, or 
other recorded document, the volume and page number of the recorded 
    (iv) If the copy requested is an additional certificate of 
registration, include the fee. The Certifications and Documents Section 
will review requests for copies of other records and quote fees for 
    (v) The telephone number and address of the requestor.
    (2) Requests for certified or uncertified reproductions of the 
copies, phonorecords, or identifying material deposited in connection 
with a copyright registration of published or unpublished works in the 
custody of the Copyright Office will be granted only when one of the 
following three conditions has been met:
    (i) The Copyright Office receives written authorization from the 
copyright claimant of record or his or her designated agent, or from the 
owner of any of the exclusive rights in the copyright as long as this 
ownership can be demonstrated by written documentation of the transfer 
of ownership.
    (ii) The Copyright Office receives a written request from an 
attorney on behalf of either the plaintiff or defendant in connection 
with litigation, actual or prospective, involving the copyrighted work. 
The following information must be included in such a request:
    (A) The names of all the parties involved and the nature of the 
    (B) The name of the court in which the actual case is pending or, in 
the case of a prospective proceeding, a full statement of the facts of 
the controversy in which the copyrighted work is involved; and
    (C) Satisfactory assurance that the requested reproduction will be 
used only in connection with the specified litigation.
    (iii) The Copyright Office receives a court order for reproduction 
of the deposited copies, phonorecords, or identifying material of a 
registered work which is the subject of litigation. The order must be 
issued by a court having jurisdiction of the case in which the 
reproduction is to be submitted as evidence.
    (3) When a request is made for a reproduction of a phonorecord, such 
as an audiotape or cassette, in which either a sound recording or the 
underlying musical, dramatic, or literary work is embodied, the 
Copyright Office will provide proximate reproduction. The Copyright 
Office reserves the right to substitute a monaural reproduction for a 
stereo, quadraphonic, or any other type of fixation of the work accepted 
for deposit.

[50 FR 30170, July 24, 1985, as amended at 51 FR 30062, Aug. 22, 1986; 
62 FR 35421, July 1, 1997; 64 FR 29520, June 1, 1999]