Thursday, July 13, 2006


My dealings with the Copyright Office to date:


submitted via the Copyright Office's web form 7/6/2006:

Why doesn't the Copyright Office ask for proof of authorization for derivative works? Someone registered a derivative copyright on my play, TAM LIN, without my authorization and then used it as the basis for a very expensive lawsuit against me for violating this unauthorized copyright when I produced the original work.

I noticed that the derivative work copyright registration form doesn't even ask for the name of the author of the original work, much less proof of authorization.

Why doesn't the Copyright Office do a better job of protecting authors of original work from unauthorized derivative work copyright registration?

Nancy McClernan

From: Copyright Information []
Sent: Wednesday, July 12, 2006 8:53 AM
To: nancy@
Subject: Re: derivative copyright

Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create, a new version of that work. The owner is generally the author or someone who has obtained rights from the author. Anyone interested in a work who does not know the owner of copyright may search the records of the Copyright Office. Or, the Office will conduct a search at a fee of $75* per hour. For further information, request Circular 22, "How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work."

Among its other functions, the Copyright Office serves as an office of record, a place where claims to copyright are registered when the claimant has complied with the requirements of the copyright law.
We are glad to furnish information about the provisions of the copyright law and the procedures for making registration, to explain the operations and practices of the Copyright Office, and to report of facts found in the public records of the Office.
However, the Regulations of the Copyright Office (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 37, chapter II) prohibit employees from giving specific legal advice on the rights of persons, whether in connection with particular uses of copyrighted works, cases of alleged domestic or foreign copyright infringement, contracts between authors and publishers, or other matters of a similar nature.

Many requests for assistance require professional legal advice, frequently that of a copyright attorney. Your local bar association may be able to recommend a copyright attorney.

**************IMPORTANT NOTE**************
As of July 1, 2006, most filing fees are $45 per application.
For other fees, please see:

Copyright Office
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave SE
Washington DC 20559
(202) 707-3000


From: Nancy
Sent: Wednesday, July 12, 2006 3:05 PM
To: 'Copyright Information'
Subject: RE: derivative copyright

You did not answer my question. I wasn't asking for legal advice, or for an explanation of copyright laws.

I thought my question was pretty easy to understand, but maybe not, so let me rephrase.

WHY doesn't the Copyright Office's derivative work copyright registration form ASK for proof of authorization?

Please answer that question, or explain why you can't answer that question.

That has nothing to do with legal advice and everything to do with the practices of the Copyright Office.

I've already BEEN through courts, and forced, at GREAT EXPENSE, the registrant of the unauthorized copyright to cancel his ill-gotten registration. The case was Edward Einhorn v. Mergatroyd Productions tried on April 24 - 26, 2006 by Judge Lawrence Kaplan in the US Southern District Court in Manhattan and my attorney sent you all the materials needed to support the cancellation. Why hasn't the cancellation of registration PA-1-254-494 gone through yet? I still see it listed in your database.

But the point is I never should have had to do it. Every single copyright owner can find themselves in the same position as I - if they are lucky enough to afford the court costs - because of the failure of the US Copyright Office to protect their rights.

The Copyright Office's statement: "Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create, a new version of that work." is absolutely meaningless because the Copyright Office does exactly NOTHING to enforce it. There should be mechanisms to prevent the easy defrauding of the Copyright Office, and penalties for those who do defraud the Copyright Office.

The current situation is intolerable and has got to stop.

So please answer the question about the failure of the current derivative copyright registration form to demand proof of authorization of the owner of the original copyright.

Nancy McClernan