Help: Group Registration of Newspaper Issues


Eligibility Requirements

A group of newspaper 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 “newspaper” (defined below).

  • Each issue must be 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 collective work (described below), and the claim in each issue must be limited to the collective work.

  • Each issue must be a work made for hire (defined 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 paper was published on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or some other schedule).

  • The applicant must identify the earliest and latest date that the issues were published, and the claim must be received within three months after the date of publication for the earliest issue in the group.


Please note: A group of newspaper issues published within the same calendar month may be registered using this option if they meet the eligibility requirements listed above (even if the paper was not published on every day within that month).


Newspapers that do not satisfy these requirements cannot be registered using this group registration option.


All the Works Must Be Newspaper Issues

You may use this option to register a group of newspaper issues. This option cannot be used to register any other type of work.


For purposes of registration, a newspaper is a periodical that is mainly designed to be a primary source of written information on current events, either local, national, or international in scope. A newspaper contains a broad range of news on all subjects and activities, and is not limited to any specific subject matter. Newspapers are intended for either the general public or a particular ethnic, cultural, or national group.


Each Issue Must Be an All New Collective Work

Newspapers are considered collective works, because they contain a number of contributions constituting separate and independent works in themselves that are assembled into a collective whole. A newspaper 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, which may contain literary or artistic expression.

A registration for a group of newspapers covers each issue in the group and each issue is 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 those contributions have not been previously published or registered and are not in the public domain.


A newspaper 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 newspaper, such as advertisements appearing in previous issues.


The Newspaper Must Be Fixed and Distributed as a Discrete, Self-contained Collective Work

A newspaper 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 example, a publisher that hand-delivers each issue to its subscribers, or distributes them through newsstands, vending machines, or other retail outlets would satisfy this requirement, because the newspaper is clearly fixed and distributed in a physical format.


A publisher that emails an electronically printed (“ePrint”) newspaper 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 newspaper from its website may satisfy this requirement if each issue is distributed as a collective work and the content of each issue does not change once it has been downloaded.


By contrast, newspaper 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, and they must be published within the same month and within the same calendar year. This group registration option cannot be used to register issues that were published in different months or different years.


Title of Newspaper

On the title screen, give the title of the newspaper 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 newspaper.


City/State

Identify the city and state where the newspaper was published. If the issues were not published in a particular city or state, you may provide the name of the country where the issues were published.


If you intend to submit several “local” editions that were published within the same metropolitan area, you should identify the city, town, or municipality served by that newspaper. For example, state “New York, NY” if you plan to register the Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island editions of a New York City newspaper.


Month/Year

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 March 2018, you should enter “O3/2018.”


Edition

As discussed below, you must submit one complete copy of the final edition of each issue in the group.


If a specific edition statement appears on each issue (such as “Late Edition” or “Final Edition”), you may provide that information on the title screen in the field marked “Edition.”


ISSN Number

As discussed below, you must upload a digital copy of each issue, and the file name for each issue must include the International Standard Serial Number (“ISSN”) that has been assigned to the newspaper.


You may also provide this number on the title screen in the field marked “ISSN.” If you provide this number in the application itself – in addition to including it in the file names – the ISSN 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 Dates for the Issues in the Group

The issues must be published in the same month and the same calendar year, 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 provided on the publication screen.


Important note: Your claim must be received within three months after the publication of the earliest issue in the group. The electronic registration system will generate an “error” message if you attempt to submit a claim more than 92 days after the date of publication for the most recent issue in the group. But currently, the system will not generate an error message if you attempt to submit a claim more than 92 days after the publication of the earliest issue in the group.


Nation of Publication

On the publication screen, you should identify the nation where the issues were first published.


Number of Issues in this Group

As discussed below, you must submit a complete copy of each issue that was published during the month specified in the application. On the publication screen, select a number between 1 and 31 to identify the number of issues that will be included in your submission.


Please note: A group of newspaper issues published within the same calendar month may be registered using this option if they meet the eligibility requirements listed above (even if the paper was not published on every day within that month).


Author/Claimant

The author and claimant for each issue must be the same person or organization, and each issue must be a 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 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?


Normally, the author of a work is the person or persons who actually created that work. But in the case of a work made for hire, the author is the employer of the person(s) who created the work, or the party that ordered or commissioned that work.


Who should be named as the author of the “work made for hire” being registered?


You should name the employer of the person(s) who created the issues or the party that ordered or commissioned those issues. Do not name the person or persons who actually created the issues or any of the articles, photographs, or other contributions appearing in those issues.


If the employer or commissioning party is an individual, provide that individual’s full name and address in the “Individual Employer” field.


If the employer or commissioning party is an organization, provide that entity’s name and address in the “Organization Name” field.


Collective Work Authorship

As mentioned above, the newspaper must be a collective work, and the claim in each issue must be limited to the collective work. When you submit this form, the term “collective work authorship” will be added automatically to your application.


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.


If the copyright in the individual contributions and each issue as a whole are owned by different parties, or if the contributions have been previously published, you must complete and submit a separate application to register each contribution.


Deposit Requirements

To register a group of newspapers, you must upload a digital copy of each issue to the electronic registration system. The upload must include a complete copy of the final edition of each issue published during the month specified in the application.


The issues must be submitted in PDF form, and you must upload a separate PDF for each issue in the group.


You may include earlier editions of the same issue if they were published on the same date as the final edition. You also may include “local” editions of the newspaper if they were published within the same metropolitan area, such as the Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island editions of a New York City newspaper. However, you may not include “national” or “regional” issues that were distributed outside that metropolitan area. In all cases, the editions should be arranged in sequential reading order, and they should be combined in a single PDF file (assuming the file does not exceed the 500 MB file size requirement discussed below).


File Naming Convention

Each PDF file should be named using the following convention:


  • “GRNP_[ISSN_number]_[date of publication YYYYMMDD].pdf”

For example, the file name for an issue published on March 1, 2018 under ISSN 1234-5678 would be “GRNP_12345678_20180301.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 Newspaper Application Form and make a PDF copy of the front page of one issue (including the masthead or nameplate) and any internal page that contains the editorial bloc, masthead, and publisher information. The completed form and PDF copies of these two pages should be emailed to [email protected] with the subject line “Group Registration of Newspapers.”


If you have applied for an ISSN but have not received it yet, state “pending” in the file name for each issue, as follows:


  • “GRNP_pending_20180301.pdf”

Digital Files

The PDF files should be assembled in an orderly form with the pages 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.


Microfilm permitted but not required

The Copyright Office recognizes that some publishers may need time to develop internal procedures and quality assurance testing to ensure that their digital submissions contain a complete copy of each issue. To ease this transition, the Office will let applicants submit a copy of each issue on microfilm on a voluntary basis, in addition to submitting the required PDF files discussed above.


NOTE: Providing microfilm is entirely optional, and is not a condition for using the group registration option.


Specifically, the issues may be submitted on 35 mm silver halide microfilm. The Office will accept microfilm until December 31, 2019.


If you submit microfilm and upload the required PDF files, and if there are deficiencies in any of the PDFs, the Copyright Office may, in its discretion, allow the microfilm to be used to cure those deficiencies.


If you choose to submit microfilm on a voluntary basis, it should contain one complete copy of the final edition of each issue published during the month specified in the application, and the issues should be arranged on the microfilm in chronological order.


The microfilm must be submitted at the same time as the application and digital files, and you must attach a “shipping slip” to the deposit. If you fail to attach a shipping slip to the microfilm, the Office will not be able to connect it with the application.


To create a shipping slip, you should complete the online application, pay the filing fee, and upload the PDF files. Next, you should select the “Create Shipping Slip” button at the bottom of the Case Summary screen, and then open the link and print the shipping slip. For additional guidance on how to create a shipping slip, consult the tutorial on the U.S. Copyright Office’s website.


The shipping slip should be included in the package containing the microfilm and sent to the following address:


Library of Congress
U.S. Copyright Office
Attn: 407 Deposits
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20559


Special Relief from the Deposit Requirements

The Copyright Office recognizes that there may be cases where a publisher may not have a digital copy of the newspaper issues or may find it difficult to create a digital copy for purposes of seeking a group registration. If an applicant is unable to upload a particular issue to the electronic system, the applicant may request special relief from the deposit requirements.


The Office may allow the applicant to submit a microfilm copy of the newspaper in lieu of the identifying material otherwise required by the regulations, or identifying material that does not comply with the deposit requirements discussed above.


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.