The U.S. Copyright Office has published an interim regulation governing the preregistration of unpublished works being prepared for commercial distribution in classes of works that the Register of Copyrights has determined have had a history of prerelease infringement. Preregistration is a new procedure in the Copyright Office to serve as a placeholder for limited purposes, notably where a copyright owner needs to sue for infringement while a work is still being prepared for commercial release.
The interim regulation was published pursuant to the Artist’s Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005, which addresses copyright infringement of works committed prior to their authorized commercial distribution, or prerelease infringement. The Copyright Office has determined that the following classes of works are eligible for preregistration: motion pictures; sound recordings; musical compilations; literary works being prepared for publication in book form; computer programs; and advertising or marketing photographs.
Works may be preregistered without regard to whether the work is intended for distribution in physical form or by online distribution.