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Preparing Form VA

Form VA is the foundation of a paper application for published images, while the continuation sheet, discussed later in this chapter, adds additional information to the application (and, strictly speaking, is optional—but more on that later). I walk you through how to complete Form VA section by section here. (The Copyright Office calls each section of the form a “space.” Go figure.)

Space 1

To complete space 1 (shown in Figure 4.3), follow these steps:

  1. Under Title of This Work, write the title of your group of images.

    Your title doesn’t need to be anything fancy, but it should describe the contents of the group generally—for example, “January 2015 Images” or “Canada Trip 2015.” Your title might differ based on whether you adopt a shoot-by-shoot or periodic approach to registering your images (see Chapter 2 for more on this).

  2. Under Previous or Alternative Titles, write “Group registration of X published photographs,” where X is the number of images contained in the group.
  3. Under Nature of This Work, write “Photographs.”

    Figure 4.3

    Figure 4.3 Space 1 of Form VA.

Space 2

To complete space 2 (shown in Figure 4.4), follow these steps:

  1. Under Name of Author, enter your name (assuming you’re the photographer).
  2. Under Dates of Birth and Death, enter the year you were born. Unless you’re a ghost (or you’re registering a copyright for someone who has died), you can skip the year of death.
  3. Under “Was this contribution to the work a ‘work made for hire’?,” check No.
  4. Under Author’s Nationality or Domicile, write the country you’re a citizen of or the country where you reside.

    It’s up to you which one you provide, but the law requires you provide one or the other.

  5. Under Was This Author’s Contribution to the Work, check No twice, unless you’re registering anonymously or under a pseudonym (both of which are rare—after all, part of why you’re registering your copyright is to be a part of the public record).
  6. Under Nature of Authorship, check the Photograph box.

    Figure 4.4

    Figure 4.4 Space 2 of Form VA.

Space 3

To complete space 3 (shown in Figure 4.5), follow these steps:

  1. Under Year in Which Creation of This Work Was Completed, enter the year in which you made the newest photograph in the group.

    So, for example, if your group contains images made over a three-year period ranging from 2011 to 2014, you would enter “2014” here.

  2. Under Date and Nation of First Publication of This Particular Work, if all the photographs in the group were published on the same date in the same country, enter the month, day, and year, as well as the nation in which they were published.

    Figure 4.5

    Figure 4.5 Space 3 of Form VA.

If the photographs were published on different dates, provide the range of dates.

Space 4

In space 4, provide the copyright claimant name and address, which in most cases will be the same as the photographer.

Space 5

In space 5, you must disclose whether you’ve previously registered a version of the images for which you’re completing the form. In most cases, you can simply check No and move to the next section.

However, if your photographs contain substantial elements from prior work, you should check Yes and then also check “This is a changed version of the work, as shown by space 6 on this application.” If the prior work is registered, you must also provide the registration number and year of registration in the space provided.

Space 6

Space 6 is only for derivative works or compilations. If this applies to you, briefly describe the original work and the material you added or changed, as appropriate. Odds are, you’ll just skip this section.

Space 7

If you have a deposit account with the Copyright Office, you need to complete space 7a. Chapter 3 provides more information about deposit accounts. Most people don’t have deposit accounts, so you’ll probably skip space 7a.

In space 7b, provide the contact information for the person you’d like the Copyright Office to correspond with if they have questions about the application. In most cases, this will be you.

Space 8

Space 8 requires you to certify that the information stated in your application is true and correct to the best of your knowledge. Assuming you’re registering for yourself, check the Author box. Print and sign your name, and date it.

Space 9

In space 9, provide the address where the Copyright Office should mail your certificate. The certificate will be prepared from a scan of the application form and folded so that what you type here will appear in a windowed envelope.

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