There’s a little piece of news from the Copyright Office about supplementary registrations: A new rule on supplementary registration is now in effect.

As you may be aware, copyright law offers optional registration that, while not mandatory, provides some nice benefits for copyright owners. Under the law, you receive a copyright over your original works when they are “fixed in a tangible medium of expression” — basically as soon as they are saved in some way. You don’t need to register your work with the government for your works to be protected by the law.

Yet even though copyright does not make registration mandatory for protection, the government wants to encourage people to register their works to help build the public record of things that have been created in the United States. So, the law offers incentives to encourage registration. These include: allowing you to bring suit in federal court, possibly qualifying you for statutory damages, and providing evidence of the validity of your copyright.

In addition to normal registration, there is also something called “supplementary registration” whereby you can correct or “amplify” (that is, add information to) registrations that you have already made.

Today, most normal registrations are made online through the Copyright Office’s eCO system. Now, with this rule, the Copyright Office has decided that most applicants for supplementary registration must file online, even if the original was done in paper. So while there are some exceptions, you can probably assume for the future that if you want to add information to your copyright registration, you will probably have to do it electronically.

The Copyright Office will be updating its online information in Circular 8 and the Compendium of the U.S. Copyright Office Practices to reflect these changes. Additionally, you can read the new rule on supplementary registrations from the Office, here.


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