37 CFR § 202.3 - Registration of copyright.

§ 202.3 Registration of copyright.
Link to an amendment published at 83 FR 66628, December 27, 2018.

(a)General.

(1) This section prescribes conditions for the registration of copyright, and the application to be made for registration under sections 408 and 409 of title 17 of the United States Code.

(2) For the purposes of this section, the terms audiovisual work, compilation, copy, derivative work, device, fixation, literary work, motion picture, phonorecord, pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, process, sound recording, and their variant forms, have the meanings set forth in section 101 of title 17. The term author includes an employer or other person for whom a work is “made for hire” under section 101 of title 17.

(3) For the purposes of this section, a copyright claimant is either:

(i) The author of a work;

(ii) A person or organization that has obtained ownership of all rights under the copyright initially belonging to the author. 1

1 This category includes a person or organization that has obtained, from the author or from an entity that has obtained ownership of all rights under the copyright initially belonging to the author, the contractual right to claim legal title to the copyright in an application for copyright registration.

(b)Administrative classification and application forms -

(1)Classes of works. For the purpose of registration, the Register of Copyrights has prescribed the classes of works in which copyright may be claimed. These classes, and examples of works which they include, are as follows:

(i)Class TX: Nondramatic literary works. This class includes all published and unpublished nondramatic literary works. Examples: Fiction; nonfiction; poetry; textbooks; reference works; directories; catalogs; advertising copy; and compilations of information.

(ii)Class PA: Works of the performing arts. This class includes all published and unpublished works prepared for the purpose of being performed directly before an audience or indirectly by means of a device or process. Examples: Musical works, including any accompanying words; dramatic works, including any accompanying music; pantomimes and choreographic works; and motion pictures and other audiovisual works.

(iii)Class VA: Works of the visual arts. This class includes all published and unpublished pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works. Examples: Two dimensional and three dimensional works of the fine, graphic, and applied arts; photographs; prints and art reproductions; maps, globes, and charts; technical drawings, diagrams, and models; and pictorial or graphic labels and advertisements.

(iv)Class SR: Sound recordings. This class includes all published and unpublished sound recordings fixed on and after February 15, 1972. Claims to copyright in literary, dramatic, and musical works embodied in phonorecords may also be registered in this class under paragraph (b)(4) of this section if:

(A) Registration is sought on the same application for both a recorded literary, dramatic, or musical work and a sound recording;

(B) The recorded literary, dramatic, or musical work and the sound recording are embodied in the same phonorecord; and

(C) The same claimant is seeking registration of both the recorded literary, dramatic, or musical work and the sound recording.

(v)Class SE: Serials. A serial is a work issued or intended to be issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely. This class includes periodicals (including newspapers); annuals; and the journals, proceedings, transactions, etc. of societies.

(2)Submission of application for registration. For purposes of registration, an applicant may submit an application for registration of individual works and certain groups of works electronically through the Copyright Office's website, or by using the printed forms prescribed by the Register of Copyrights.

(i)Electronic applications.

(A) An applicant may submit an application electronically. For non-group registrations, an applicant may submit a standard electronic application, or an applicant may submit a “single” application.

(B) A “single” application can be made only for a single work by a single author that is owned by the person who created it, and is not a work made for hire. The claimant and the author must be the same. A third party may remit a “single” application on behalf of the author/claimant, provided that party lists itself as the correspondent. The following categories of work may not be registered using the “single” application: collective works, unpublished collections, units of publication, group registration options, databases, websites, works by more than one author, and works with more than one owner. The designation of a work as eligible for a “single” registration does not include work characterized as a “single work” under paragraph (b)(4) of this section.

(C) An online submission requires a payment of the application fee through an electronic fund transfer, credit or debit card, or through a Copyright Office deposit account.

(D) Deposit materials in support of an online application may be submitted electronically in a digital format (if eligible) along with the application and payment, or an applicant may send physical copies or phonorecords as necessary to satisfy the best edition requirements, by mail to the Copyright Office, using the required shipping slip generated during the online registration process.

(ii) (A) Alternatively, an applicant may submit an application on one of the printed forms prescribed by the Register of Copyrights. Each printed form corresponds to a class set forth in paragraph (b)(1) of this section and is so designated (“Form TX”; “Short Form TX”, “Form PA”; “Short Form PA”, “Form VA”; “Short Form VA”, “Form SR”; “Form SE”; “Short Form SE”, and “Form SE/Group”).

(B) Short form applications may only be used if certain conditions are met. Short Form TX, Short Form PA, and Short Form VA may be used only to register a single work in a case when a living author who is the only author of his or her work is the sole owner of the copyright in the work, the work is not a compilation or derivative work containing a substantial amount of previously published or registered material, and the work is not a work made for hire. Short Form SE may be used only if the claim is in a collective work, the work is essentially an all-new collective work or issue, the author is a citizen or domiciliary of the United States, the work is a work for hire, the author(s) and claimant(s) are the same person(s) or organization(s), and the work was first published in the United States.

(C) Printed form applications should be submitted in the class most appropriate to the nature of the authorship in which copyright is claimed. In the case of contributions to collective works, applications should be submitted in the class representing the copyrightable authorship in the contribution. In the case of derivative works, applications should be submitted in the class most appropriately representing the copyrightable authorship involved in recasting, transforming, adapting, or otherwise modifying the preexisting work. In cases where a work contains elements of authorship in which copyright is claimed which fall into two or more classes, the application should be submitted in the class most appropriate to the predominant type of authorship in the work as a whole. However, in any case where registration is sought for a work consisting of or including a sound recording in which copyright is claimed, the application shall be submitted on Form SR.

(D) Copies of the printed forms are available on the Copyright Office's website (www.copyright.gov) and upon request to the Copyright Public Information Office, Library of Congress. Printed form applications may be completed and submitted by completing a printed version or using a PDF version of the applicable Copyright Office application form and mailing it together with the other required elements, i.e., physically tangible deposit copies and/or materials, and the required filing fee, all elements being placed in the same package and sent by mail or hand-delivered to the Copyright Office.

(3)Continuation sheets. A continuation sheet (Form CON) is appropriate only in the case when a printed form application is used and where additional space is needed by the applicant to provide all relevant information concerning a claim to copyright. An application may include more than one continuation sheet.

(4)Registration as a single work.

(i) For the purpose of registration on a single application and upon payment of a single registration fee, the following shall be considered a single work:

(A) In the case of published works: all copyrightable elements that are otherwise recognizable as self-contained works, that are included in a single unit of publication, and in which the copyright claimant is the same; and

(B) In the case of unpublished works: all copyrightable elements that are otherwise recognizable as self-contained works, and are combined in a single unpublished “collection.” For these purposes, a combination of such elements shall be considered a “collection” if:

(1) The elements are assembled in an orderly form;

(2) The combined elements bear a single title identifying the collection as a whole;

(3) The copyright claimant in all of the elements, and in the collection as a whole, is the same; and

(4) All of the elements are by the same author, or, if they are by different authors, at least one of the authors has contributed copyrightable authorship to each element.

Registration of an unpublished “collection” extends to each copyrightable element in the collection and to the authorship, if any, involved in selecting and assembling the collection.

(ii) In the case of an application for registration made under paragraphs (b)(4) through (10) of this section or under § 202.4, the “year of creation,” “year of completion,” or “year in which creation of this work was completed” means the latest year in which the creation of any copyrightable element was completed.

(5)Group registration of related works: Automated databases.

(i) Pursuant to the authority granted by section 408(c)(1) of title 17 of the United States Code, the Register of Copyrights has determined that, on the basis of a single application, deposit, and filing fee, a single registration may be made for automated databases and their updates or other derivative versions that are original works of authorship, if, where a database (or updates or other revisions thereof), if unpublished, is (or are) fixed, or if published is (or are) published only in the form of machine-readable copies, all of the following conditions are met:

(A) All of the updates or other revisions are owned by the same copyright claimant;

(B) All of the updates or other revisions have the same general title;

(C) All of the updates or other revisions are similar in their general content, including their subject;

(D) All of the updates or other revisions are similar in their organization;

(E) Each of the updates or other revisions as a whole, if published before March 1, 1989, bears a statutory copyright notice as first published and the name of the owner of copyright in each work (or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner) was the same in each notice;

(F) Each of the updates or other revisions if published was first published, or if unpublished was first created, within a three-month period in a single calendar year; and

(G) The deposit accompanying the application complies with § 202.20(c)(2)(vii)(D).

(ii) A single registration may be made on one application for both a database published on a single date, or if unpublished, created on a single date, and also for its copyrightable revisions, including updates covering a three-month period in a single calendar year. An application for group registration of automated databases under section 408(c)(1) of title 17 and this subsection shall consist of:

(A) A form that best reflects the subject matter of the material in the database as set forth in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, completed in accordance with the basic instructions on the form and the Special Instructions for Group Registration of an Automated Database and its Updates or Revisions, except that in the case of an application for group registration of an automated database consisting predominantly of photographs, after consultation and with the permission and under the direction of the Visual Arts Division, the application may be submitted electronically.

(B) The appropriate filing fee, as required in § 201.3(c); and

(C) The deposit required by § 202.20(c)(2)(vii)(D).

(6)-(10) [Reserved]

(11)One registration per work. As a general rule only one copyright registration can be made for the same version of a particular work. However:

(i) Where a work has been registered as unpublished, another registration may be made for the first published edition of the work, even if it does not represent a new version;

(ii) Where someone other than the author is identified as copyright claimant in a registration, another registration for the same version may be made by the author in his or her own name as copyright claimant; 2

2 An author includes an employer or other person for whom a work is “made for hire” under 17 U.S.C. 101. This paragraph does not permit an employee or other person working “for hire” under that section to make a later registration in his or her own name. In the case of authors of a joint work, this paragraph does permit a later registration by one author in his or her own name as copyright claimant, where an earlier registration identifies only another author as claimant.

(iii) Where an applicant for registration alleges that an earlier registration for the same version is unauthorized and legally invalid, a registration may be made by that applicant.

(c)Application for registration.

(1) An application for copyright registration may be submitted by any author or other copyright claimant of a work, or the owner of any exclusive right in a work, or the duly authorized agent of any such author, other claimant, or owner.

(2) An application for copyright registration shall be submitted by using one of the methods set forth in paragraph (b) of this section. All completed application forms shall be accompanied by the appropriate filing fee, as required in § 201.3(c) of this chapter, and the deposit copies and materials required under 17 U.S.C. 408 and § 202.20 or § 202.4, as applicable. All applications submitted for registration shall supply the information required by the particular application and shall include a certification. The certification shall consist of:

(i) A designation that the party signing the print application, or submitting the application electronically, falls within an accepted status from among the following: author, claimant, an owner of exclusive rights, or a duly authorized agent of the author, claimant, owner of exclusive rights;

(ii) For print applications, the handwritten signature of the party described in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section accompanied by the typed or printed name of that party; or, if an electronically submitted application, a name provided within the certification screen of the electronic application which represents a party described in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section;

(iii) A declaration that information provided within the application is correct to the best of that party's knowledge; and,

(iv) For print applications, the date of completion of the application form, with the date (month, day, year) printed, typed, or handwritten; or, if an electronically submitted application, the date of electronic receipt of the application by the Copyright Office, which date shall be provided automatically by the Copyright Office.

(3) An application for registration of a published work will not be accepted if the date of certification is earlier than the date of publication given in the application.

(Pub. L. 94-553; secs. 408, 409, 410, 702)
[43 FR 966, Jan. 5, 1978]
Editorial Note:
For Federal Register citations affecting § 202.3, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.fdsys.gov.