A group of newsletter issues may be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office with one application and one filing fee, if the following conditions have been met:
- Each issue must be a “newsletter” (defined below).
- The group must include at least two issues.
- Each issue must be an all-new issue or an all-new collective work (defined below) that has not been published before.
- Each issue must be fixed and distributed as a discrete, self-contained work (described below).
- The author and claimant for each issue must be the same person or organization.
- All the issues must be published under the same continuing title.
- All the issues must be published within the same calendar month and bear issue dates within that month (regardless of whether the newsletter was published daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or on any other schedule).
- The applicant must identify the earliest and most recent date that the issues were published.
You must submit one complete copy of each issue. The issues must be submitted in a digital form, each issue must be contained in a separate PDF file, and the files must be uploaded to the electronic registration system.
To access the application, click the phrase “Register Certain Groups of Published Works,” which appears on the home page of the electronic registration system. Then select “Daily Newsletters” from the options listed in the drop down menu marked “Type of Group.”
NOTE: Although the application is labeled “daily newsletters,” this form may be used to register any newsletter, even if it isn’t published on a daily basis.
Newsletters that do not satisfy these requirements cannot be registered using this group registration option.
All the Works Must Be Newsletter Issues
You may use this option to register a group of newsletter issues. This option cannot be used to register any other type of work.
For purposes of registration, a “newsletter” is a serial that is published and distributed by mail, electronic media, or other medium. The issues must contain news or information chiefly of interest to a special group, such as trade and professional associations, colleges, schools, or churches. Newsletters are typically distributed through subscriptions, but are not distributed through newsstands or other retail outlets.
Each Work Must Be an All-New Issue or an All-New Collective Work
A newsletter may be considered a collective work if each issue contains a number of contributions constituting separate and independent works in themselves that are assembled into a collective whole.
Collective works typically contains two different types of authorship:
- The compilation authorship involved in creating the issue as a whole, including the selection, coordination, and/or arrangement of the separate contributions, as well as editing or other revisions.
- The authorship in the separate and independent contributions that have been included within the issue, such as articles, photographs, and illustrations.
If the newsletter is a collective work, the registration will cover each issue in the group and each issue will be registered as a separate collective work. The registration may also cover the articles, photographs, illustrations, or other contributions that appear in each issue, if the claimant fully owns the copyright in both the issue and the contributions on the date the claim is filed, and if the contributions have not been previously published or registered and are not in the public domain.
A newsletter issue may qualify as an “all new” collective work if it contains a sufficient amount of compilation authorship. In other words, there must be new expression in the selection, coordination, and/or arrangement of the articles, photographs, or other content appearing in each issue. The fact that the content itself is entirely new is irrelevant to this determination. For example, an issue could be considered “all new” if it contains a brand new selection, coordination, and arrangement of content, even if that content has been previously published in the newsletter, such as advertisements appearing in previous issues.
The Newsletter Must Be Fixed and Distributed as a Discrete, Self-contained Work
A newsletter may satisfy this requirement if the issue as a whole is fixed in a tangible medium of expression, and if the content of each issue does not change once it has been distributed. For instance, a publisher that mails each issue to its subscribers would satisfy this requirement, because the newsletter is clearly fixed and distributed in a physical format.
A publisher that emails an electronically printed (“ePrint”) newsletter to its subscribers may satisfy this requirement if each issue contains a fixed selection of content, such as a PDF version of a physical publication. Similarly, a publisher that allows its subscribers to download an ePrint newsletter from its website may satisfy this requirement if the content of each issue does not change once it has been downloaded.
By contrast, websites are not eligible for this group registration option, because they typically add, archive, and/or replace content on a continuing basis, and as such, are not fixed and distributed as discrete, self-contained works.
All the Issues Must Be Published in the Same Month
All the issues in the group must be published, they must be published within the same month, and they must bear issue dates within that month. This group registration option cannot be used to register issues that were published in different months or different years.
Title of Newsletter
On the title screen, give the title of the newsletter exactly as it appears on each issue. As mentioned above, the title of each issue must be the same.
Do not include titles for the individual articles or other contributions appearing in the newsletter.
Identify the city and state where the newsletter was published. If the issues were not published in a particular city or state, you may leave this space blank.
Identify the month and year that the issues were published. This information should be provided in “MM/YYYY” format. For example, if the issues were published in August 2018, you should enter “08/2018.”
As discussed below, you must upload a digital copy of each issue. If an International Standard Serial Number (“ISSN”) has been assigned to the newsletter, that number should be included in the file name for each issue.
You also may provide this number on the title screen in the field marked “ISSN.” If you provide an ISSN in the application itself – in addition to including it in the file names – it will appear on the certificate of registration and in the online public record for the claim.
If you do not have an ISSN, you may request a number from the U.S. ISSN Center, as discussed below.
“Publication” occurs when copies of a newsletter are distributed to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. Offering to distribute copies to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display constitutes publication. A public performance or public display of a work does not, in and of itself, constitute publication.
Publication Dates for the Issues in the Group
As discussed above, the issues must be published in the same month, and the applicant must provide the date of publication (month, day, and year) for the earliest and most recent issues in the group. This information should be entered in the spaces provided on the Publication screen.
Nation of Publication
On the Title screen, you should identify the nation where the issues were published for the first time. To do so, select the name of the appropriate country from the drop down menu. If you are not sure where the issues were published you may select “not known” from the menu.
Number of Issues in this Group
You must upload a complete copy of each issue that will be submitted for registration, and as discussed above, all of the issues must be published within the same month. On the Publication screen, select a number between 1 and 31 to identify the number of issues you plan to submit.
If the newsletter is published more than once a day, and the total number of issues submitted is greater than 31, select 31 on the Publication screen. Then add a note in the “Note to Copyright Office” field on the Certification screen indicating the total number of issues you are seeking to register with your application.
The author and the copyright claimant for each issue must be the same person or organization.
Generally, the “author” is the person or persons who created or co-created the issues in the group. (Note: There is a limited exception to this rule – discussed in more detail below – if each issue was created as a “work made for hire”.)
If you are the author of each issue, you may enter your information by clicking the “Add Me” button on the Author/Claimant screen. If you are completing the application on behalf of the author, click the button marked “New”.
If the issues were created by an organization, provide that entity’s name in the space marked “Organization”.
If the author is an individual, provide that person’s first and last name in the spaces marked “Individual”.
If each issue was created as a “work made for hire”, select “yes” in the space marked “Is this author/claimant’s contribution a work made for hire”? (If the issues are not works made for hire, select “no” or simply leave this space blank.)
Work Made for Hire
What is a Work Made for Hire?
A work made for hire is either
- a work created by an employee within the scope of his or her employment.
- a work that is specially ordered or commissioned, provided that the parties expressly agree in a writing signed by both parties that the work is considered a “work made for hire,” and the work is specially ordered or commissioned for use as:
- a compilation
- a contribution to a collective work
- a translation
- instructional text, which is defined as a “literary, pictorial, or graphic work prepared for publication and with the purpose of use in systematic instructional activities;” or
- a supplementary work, which is defined as “a work prepared for publication as a secondary adjunct to a work by another author for the purpose of introducing, concluding, illustrating, explaining, revising, commenting upon, or assisting in the use of the other work, such as forewords, afterwords, pictorial illustrations, maps, charts, tables, editorial notes, musical arrangements, answer material for tests, bibliographies, appendixes, and indexes.”
For more information on works made for hire see Works Made for Hire (Circular 30).
Who is the author of a work made for hire?
The author of a work made for hire is the employer of the person(s) who created the issues or the party that ordered or commissioned the issues.
Who should be named as the author of a “work made for hire”?
If each issue was created as a “work made for hire”, you should select “yes” in the space marked “Is this author/claimant’s contribution a work made for hire?”
As mentioned above, the author of a “work made for hire” is the employer of the person(s) who created the issues or the party that ordered or commissioned the issues.
If the issues were created by an organization, provide that entity’s name in the space marked “Organization.”
If the employer or commissioning party is an individual, provide that person’s first and last name in the spaces marked “Individual.”
- John Smith is an employee of the American Association of Endocrinology. John created 3 newsletter issues for his employer. The American Association of Endocrinology should be named as the author of these issues, not John Smith.
- Margaret Riley is a publisher. Janet Jones is a freelance writer. Margaret and Janet signed a contract stating that Janet would create 3 newsletter issues for Margaret as a “work made for hire.” Margaret should be named as the author of these issues, not Janet.
Author/Claimant’s Contribution to the Issues
Provide a brief statement on the Author/Claimant screen that best describes the author/claimant’s contribution to each issue.
If each issue is a “collective work,” you may register the authorship involved in creating the issue as a whole by stating “collective work” or “collective work authorship” in the “Other” space.
As discussed above, a claim in the “collective work” covers the compilation authorship involved in creating each issue as a whole. It also covers the authorship in the individual articles, photographs, illustrations, or other contributions appearing within each issue – if they were first published in those issues and if they are fully owned by the author/claimant when the application is filed.
Alternatively, you may assert a claim in the collective work and the individual contributions by stating “collective work authorship” in the Other space and by checking the box for “contribution(s) by the same author and claimant”.
If the newsletter is not a “collective work” (as defined above) or if this term does not adequately describe the author/claimant’s contribution to each issue, you may provide a more specific statement in the “Other” space.
To register a group of newsletters, you must submit a digital copy of each issue. Each issue must be submitted in a separate PDF file, and the files must be uploaded to the electronic registration system.
File Naming Convention
Each PDF file should be named using the following conventions.
If an ISSN number has not been assigned to the newsletter, the file name should include the abbreviation “GRNL” (which stands for “group newsletters”), the title of the newsletter, and the date of publication for each issue, as follows:
“GRNL_[title_of_newsletter]_[date of publication YYYYMMDD].pdf”
For example, the file name for a newsletter titled Gas Storage Bulletin published on August 1, 2018 would be “GRNL_gas_storage_bulletin_20180801.pdf.”
Important Note: Do not include any punctuation or special characters in the file name. For instance, for a newsletter titled Copyright’s Rules & Regulations Bulletin, the title should be given in the file name as “Copyrights_Rules_and_Regulations_Bulletin” (omitting the apostrophe and ampersand).
If an ISSN number has been assigned to the newsletter, the files should be named using the following convention:
- “GRNL_[ISSN_number]_[date of publication YYYYMMDD].pdf”
For example, the file name for an issue published on August 1, 2018 under ISSN 1234-5678 would be “GRNL_12345678_20180801.pdf.”
Include underscores between each element of the file name, but leave out the hyphen in the middle of the ISSN number. Be sure to include two digits for both the month and day, such as 01, 02, 03, etc. (not 1, 2, 3, etc.).
If you do not have an ISSN, you may request a number from the U.S. ISSN Center. To do so, complete the ISSN Application Form and make a PDF copy of the front page of one issue (including the masthead or nameplate, if any) and the internal page that contains the editorial bloc, masthead, and publisher information (if any). The completed form and PDF copies of these two pages should be emailed to [email protected].
If you have applied for an ISSN but have not received it yet, you may state “pending” in the file name for each issue, as follows:
Use the same file-naming convention if the newsletter is published more than once a day, and add “_1”, “_2”, “_3”, etc. at the end of the file name to identify the order that the issues were published on that date. For example, if three issues were published on the same date, the issues should be named using the following convention:
- “GRNL_[ISSN_number]_[date of publication YYYYMMDD]_1.pdf”
- “GRNL_[ISSN_number]_[date of publication YYYYMMDD]_2.pdf”
- “GRNL_[ISSN_number]_[date of publication YYYYMMDD]_3.pdf”
The PDF files should be assembled in an orderly form. The entire content of each issue should be contained within the same electronic file (including the cover, if any), and the pages should be arranged in sequential reading order.
The PDF files must be viewable and searchable, and they must be free of any access restrictions, such as password protection, watermarks, or other Digital Rights Management (DRM).
The PDF files also must contain embedded fonts, meaning that the fonts used in each issue should be included within the file itself. If the fonts are properly embedded, the Copyright Office should be able to see the fonts that appeared in each issue when it was originally published. To determine if the fonts have been embedded, open the file with Adobe Acrobat Pro or Adobe Reader and select the option for “file / properties / fonts”. If the fonts are included in the file you should see “(Embedded)” or “(Embedded Subset)” after each font listed under the heading “Fonts Used in this Document”.
Uploading the Digital Files
You must upload each issue to the electronic registration system, and each issue must be contained in a separate PDF file.
To be clear, you may submit all of the files during the same upload session and you may upload all of them at the same time. You do not need to upload each file one by one. For additional guidance on how to upload files to the electronic registration system, consult the tutorial on the Copyright Office’s website.
Important Note: The file size for each PDF must not exceed 500 MB. If necessary, the files may be compressed to comply with this requirement, but you should not submit them in a compressed file, such as a .cab, .rar, or .zip file.
Special Relief from the Deposit Requirements
If the publisher does not have a digital copy of the newsletter issues, you may request special relief from the deposit requirements. A request for special relief must be made in writing, and it should explain why the applicant is unable to upload digital files that satisfy the deposit requirements described above. The request may be included in the “Note to Copyright Office” field on the Certification screen.
The Copyright Office may grant a request for special relief, subject to such conditions that the Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of the Office of Registration Policy and Practice may impose on the applicant.
For additional information concerning special relief, see Chapter 1500, Section 1508.8 of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition.