For registration purposes, a “newspaper” is defined as a serial designed mainly to be a primary source of information on current events, either local, national, or international in scope. Newspapers contain a broad range of news on all subjects.
Newspaper issues may be registered as a group if they meet all of the following requirements:
The newspaper must be a daily newspaper as defined above.
The newspaper must be a “work made for hire” that is, the employer is the author.
The author (employer-for-hire) must also be the copyright claimant.
Each issue must be an essentially all-new collective work.
The claim must include all issue dates within one calendar month.
The application must be submitted no later than three months after the last publication date included in the group.
- One positive 35-mm. silver-halide microfilm that includes all issues within the calendar month must be deposited. Final editions are required when two or more daily editions are published. In some cases, the publisher may be exempted from sending the microfilm by the Copyright Acquisitions Division of the Copyright Office. The Copyright Acquisitions Division will notify the publisher if a newspaper is exempted. For an exempted newspaper, an optional deposit may accompany the application. This deposit should consist of: (1) complete print copies of the first and last issues of the month, or (2) print copies of the first section of the first and last issues of the month, or (3) print copies of the first page of the first and last issues of the month.
If all of these requirements are not met, each newspaper issue must be registered separately.
Give the title as it appears on the newspaper.
Enter the city and state where the newspaper is published. If the newspaper is published nationally only, give the nation of publication.
Number of Issues in This Group
Enter the number of days within the month in which publication occurred, regardless of the number of issues published per day. For example, if the month had 30 days and an issue appeared each day, enter “30.” If two issues were published daily, you should still enter “30.”
The 1976 Copyright Act defines publication as:
"Publication" is the distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. The offering to distribute copies or phonorecords to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display constitutes publication. A public performance or display of a work does not itself constitute publication.
The author and the copyright claimant must be the same person or organization.
The author of a work is responsible for its creation. Normally, the author is the person who actually creates the authorship being claimed. The only exception occurs when authorship is created as a "work made for hire". In this case, the employer is considered the author, not the employee who created the authorship. (See below for information on works made for hire).
The claimant is the person or organization that owns all rights under the U.S. copyright law; ownership of only some of the rights it not sufficient. In addition, a claimant must own the copyright in all of the authorship covered by this registration.
A work made for hire is either
- a work created by an employee as part of his/her regular duties. Courts have considered certain factors in the employment relationship, such as whether taxes are withheld or benefits given, to determine whether the contributor is an “employee” under this sense of the definition. See Circular 9.
- a specially commissioned work for certain categories of works
and only if there is a written agreement between the employer and employee
stating that the work is made for hire. In the context of newspapers, specially commissioned works must
fall into one of the following categories:
- contribution to a collective work
- supplementary work
If a work is made for hire, the employer is the author. See “statutory definition” below.
A work made for hire is defined as:
Compilation is a work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship. To be copyrightable, a compilation must contain at least a certain amount of original selection and/or ordering. For example, the selection of only 3 poems from different authors would not constitute a copyrightable compilation.
Please note that if the court finds that a group registration of newspaper issues extends to any work included in the issues for which the claimant owns all rights by transfer of ownership, the facts stated in the application will not include any information about authorship transferred to the claimant and will not include any identification of the authors and titles of such works. Consequently, in an infringement action involving individual articles, the plaintiff may have to prove ownership of a valid copyright in component works, including which component works were made for hire and which works were obtained by a transfer of ownership, if any.
The phrase “collective work” refers to a work, such as a serial issue, in which a number of contributions are assembled into a collective whole. There are two types of authorship in a collective work:
- Authorship of the collective work as a whole, which may include revisions, editing, compilation, and similar authorship that went into putting the work into final form, and
- Authorship of the individual contributions.
When the two types of authorship are owned separately, they cannot be registered together on one application. Each application requires a separate fee.