Help: Group Registration of Contributions to Periodicals


Contributions to Periodicals Tutorial

This application may be used to register two or more works that were first published as a contribution to a periodical.


What is a “contribution to a periodical”?

A “contribution to a periodical” is a separate and independent work that has been published in a periodical. Examples include an article published in a newspaper, a photograph published in a magazine, an illustration published in a journal, and other similar works.


For purposes of registration, a “periodical” is defined as “a collective work that is issued or intended to be issued on an established schedule in successive issues that are intended to be continued indefinitely. In most cases, each issue will bear the same title, as well as numerical or chronological designations.”


Articles, blog entries, artwork, photographs, or other contributions that were first published in an electronically printed (“ePrint”) publication may be registered with this option if that publication fits within the definition of a “periodical.”


An ePrint publication may be considered a “periodical” if it is fixed and distributed online or via email as a self-contained work, such as a digital version of a tangible newspaper, magazine, newsletter, or similar publication. For example, many companies publish electronic newsletters that contain articles on a particular subject, and distribute these publications to their subscribers either online or via email. An article published in an ePrint newsletter could be considered a contribution to a periodical if each issue of the newsletter is fixed and distributed as a self-contained work, and if the content of each issue does not change once it has been distributed.

 

Eligibility Requirements

A group of contributions to periodicals may be registered with one application and one filing fee, if the following conditions have been met:

  1. All of the contributions must be created by the same author. The author must be an individual and the works cannot be works made for hire.
  2. The copyright claimant for all the contributions must be the same person or organization.
  3. Each work must be first published as a contribution to a periodical, and all the contributions must be first published within a twelve-month period (such as January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, February 1, 2011 through January 31, 2012, September 15, 2013 through September 14, 2014, etc.)
  4. The application must identify each contribution, including its date of first publication and the periodical in which it was first published.
  5. The applicant must submit one copy of each contribution, either by submitting the entire issue of the periodical where the contribution was first published, the entire section of the newspaper where it was first published, or the specific page(s) where the contribution was first published.
  6. If any of the contributions were published before March 1, 1989, those works must bear a separate copyright notice, the notice must contain the copyright owner’s name (or an abbreviation by which the owner can be recognized or a generally known alternative designation for the owner), and the name that appears in each notice must be the same.

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

 

When may an application for a group registration be filed?
You may submit all of the contributions that were published over the course of any twelve-month period. That said, the Copyright Office encourages applicants to submit their claims on a quarterly basis (i.e., every three months), instead of submitting them on an annual or semi-annual basis.


A contribution to a periodical must be registered in a timely manner to seek statutory damages and attorney’s fees in an infringement action. An author may seek these remedies if the contribution was registered (i) before the infringement began, or (ii) within three months after the first publication of that work.


To secure these benefits, applicants should submit their claims within three months after the date of publication for the earliest contribution in the group. By doing so, the author will preserve his or her ability to seek statutory damages and attorney’s fees for any infringements that may occur after the effective date of registration, as well as any infringements that may occur within three months after the publication of each work in the group.


Deposit Requirements

You must submit one complete copy of each contribution listed on the application. You may satisfy this requirement by submitting any of the following items:

  • One complete copy of the entire issue of the periodical in which the contribution was first published.
  • If the contribution was first published in a newspaper, you may submit one complete copy of the entire section of the newspaper where the contribution was first published.
  • Alternatively, you may submit one complete copy of the particular pages within the periodical where the contribution was first published.

The deposit must be submitted in a digital format, and each contribution must appear in the precise form in which they were first published in the periodical.


Each contribution must be contained in a separate electronic file in PDF, JPG, TIFF, or any other electronic format that has been approved by the Office. A current list of acceptable file formats is posted on the Office’s website.


The file name assigned to each contribution should match the corresponding title that you provide on the “Titles” screen.


Example:


Annette intends to register four articles titled “The Birthday Party,” “The Dinner Party,” “The Bachelor Party,” and “The Wedding Party,” which were published in Celebrations magazine. She plans to submit these articles in four separate PDF files.


Annette should provide the following information on the “Titles” screen:

  • Title of Contribution: The Birthday Party / Title of periodical: Celebrations
  • Title of Contribution: The Dinner Party / Title of periodical: Celebrations
  • Title of Contribution: The Bachelor Party / Title of periodical: Celebrations
  • Title of Contribution: The Wedding Party / Title of periodical: Celebrations

The PDF files that Annette submits to the Copyright Office should be named as follows:

  • The_Birthday_Party.pdf
  • The_Dinner_Party.pdf
  • The_Bachelor_Party.pdf
  • The_Wedding_Party.pdf

The electronic files must be uploaded to the electronic registration system. The size of each uploaded file must not exceed 500 megabytes, although you may digitally compress the files to comply with this requirement. Guidance on how to upload the files is available on the Office’s website.

Note: If you are unable to submit a digital copy of the contributions or if you are unable to upload them through the electronic system, you may request special relief from the deposit requirements. For information concerning this procedure, see chapter 1500, section 1508 of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition.


Type of Group

When registering a group of contributions to periodicals, select the type of group that best describes the contributions you are registering. As long as they meet the eligibility requirements for group registration (outlined above), the contributions may be registered together, even if they are entirely different in nature, type, or content.

Contributions to Periodicals TX:

 

Select this option to register nondramatic literary works consisting primarily of text. Examples include fiction, verse, articles, news stories, features, essays, reviews, editorials, columns, quizzes, puzzles, and advertising copy.

Contributions to Periodicals VA:

 

Select this option to register works of the visual arts. Examples include photographs, drawings, paintings, prints, art reproductions, cartoons, comic strips, charts, diagrams, maps, pictorial ornamentation, and pictorial or graphic material published as advertising.

 

If you intend to register contributions that fit within both categories, choose the category that would be suitable for the majority of the contributions in the group. For example, if most of the contributions contain text combined with a few photographs, select Contributions to Periodicals TX. If most of the contributions contain illustrations with a small amount of text, select Contributions to Periodicals VA. If the types of authorship are roughly equal, you may choose the option that would be appropriate for the majority of the contributions.

 

Title and Publication Information

You must provide a title and date of publication for each contribution being registered. This information should be provided on the “Titles” screen.


Begin by clicking the button marked “New.”


A new screen will appear: In the spaces provided, enter the title of the contribution and the title of the periodical where it was first published. You should also provide the volume, number, issue date, and ISSN number for the periodical (if any), as well as the page number(s) where the contribution appeared within that periodical (if any).


If the contribution was published as part of a series of works by the same author, such as an advice column, an editorial column, a cartoon strip, or the like, you may provide the title for that series in the field marked “Series Title.”


In the space marked “Year of Completion” identify the year that the author completed this contribution.


You must provide a date of publication for each contribution. “Publication” is the distribution of copies of a work 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, also constitutes publication. A public performance or display of a work does not, in and of itself, constitute publication.

In the space marked “Date of First Publication” identify the month, day, and year that the contribution was first published in the periodical. If you do not know the exact date of first publication, give the approximate month, day, and year.


In the space marked “Nation of First Publication” select the name of the country where the contribution was first published. If the work was published in the United States and another country on the same day, give “United States.”  If the nation of first publication is unknown, you may select “not known” from the drop down menu.


Once you have entered this information, click “Save” to return to the previous screen. The title and publication information that you entered will appear in the list marked “All Titles.” To enter the title for the next contribution, click the “New” button and repeat the steps described above. After you have entered title and publication information for all of the contributions, click “Continue” to proceed to the next part of the application.


Author

On the “Author” screen you should provide the full name of the individual who created each and every contribution in the group.


Note: There is a limited exception to this rule if the author created all of the contributions anonymously or if the author’s pseudonym appears on all of the contributions.


If you are the author of each and every contribution, you may enter your information by clicking the “Add Me” button on the Author screen. The information from your profile will populate the appropriate fields. Check to ensure that the information is correct, and then click the “Save” button.


If you are completing the application on behalf of the author, enter the requested information in the spaces provided, and then click the “Continue” button.


Author's Citizenship or Domicile

From the drop-down menu, select the name of the author’s country of citizenship and domicile.
“Citizenship” means that the author is a citizen of a particular nation or the author owes permanent allegiance to a particular country, even though he or she is not a citizen of that nation.

“Domicile” is the nation where the author has a fixed and permanent residence, where the author intends to maintain his or her residence for an unlimited time, and whenever absent where the author intends to return.

Year of Birth

Providing the author’s year of birth is optional, but the Office encourages applicants to include this information because it may be useful in identifying the author. If given, the year of birth will appear in the public record.

If the contributions are “anonymous” or “pseudonymous” the Office encourages applicants to provide this information, although it is not required.

Year of Death

You should provide a year of death if the author is deceased. The copyright law requires this information, because the length of the copyright term may be based on the year that the author died.

If the contributions are “anonymous” or “pseudonymous” the Office encourages applicants to provide this information, although it is not required.

Anonymous Contributions

What is an anonymous contribution?


A contribution is “anonymous” if the author is not identified on the copies of that work. If the author’s name appears on the contribution, it is not an anonymous work, even if the author does not wish to reveal his or her identity in the registration record.


Examples:

  • The byline of an article reads:  “The Pentagon Files by Anonymous.”  This would be considered an anonymous contribution, because the author’s name does not appear on the work.
  • The byline of an article reads:  “The Pentagon Files by Anonymous(a.k.a. Danielle Allberg).” This would not be considered an anonymous work, because the author’s name appears on the work.

How should you identify the author of an anonymous contribution?

If all of the contributions in the group are anonymous, and if you wish to reveal the author’s identity in the registration record, you may check the box marked “Anonymous” and provide the author’s legal name in the “Individual Author” spaces.



Note: Depending on the circumstances, providing the author’s legal name in the registration record for an anonymous contribution may extend or reduce the term of copyright. For additional information see the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, chapter 600, section 615.1. 


If the author’s legal name does not appear on any of the contributions and if you DO NOT wish to disclose the author’s identity in the registration record, leave the “Individual Author” spaces blank, check the box marked “Anonymous,” and type “Anonymous” in the field marked “Last Name.”  Do not include the author’s legal name anywhere in the application (including the correspondent, mail certificate, and certification screens). If you include the author’s legal name anywhere in the application it becomes part of the public record and cannot be changed once a registration has issued.


Note: If the author’s name appears on some – but not all – of the contributions, you may register those works with the same application. But to do so you must disclose the author’s identity in the registration record. For example, if the author wrote 10 essays – and if that person’s name appears on 8 of those essays – you may register all of them with this group registration option. But you would have to provide the author’s real name in the registration record for all 10 essays. As a result, none of the essays would be considered “anonymous contributions.”


Pseudonymous Contributions


What is a pseudonymous contribution?


A contribution is “pseudonymous” if the author is identified on the copies solely by a fictitious name. If both the author’s legal name and fictitious name appear on the copies of the contribution, the work is not pseudonymous.


Examples:

  • The byline of an article reads:  “Free Advice by Miss Manners.” This could be considered a pseudonymous contribution, because “Miss Manners” is a pseudonym for the author (whose real name is Judith Martin).
  • The byline of an article reads:  “Free Advice by Judith Martin.” This would not be considered a pseudonymous contribution, because the author’s real name appears on the work.
  • The byline of an article reads:  “Free Advice by Miss Manners (a.k.a. Judith Martin).” This would not be considered a pseudonymous contribution, because the author’s real name appears on the work.

How should you identify the author of a pseudonymous contribution?


If all of the contributions in the group are pseudonymous, and if you wish to reveal the author’s identity in the registration record, check the box marked “Pseudonymous,” provide the author’s pseudonym in the space provided, and provide the author’s legal name in the spaces marked “First Name / Last Name.”


Note: Depending on the circumstances, providing the author’s name in the registration record for a pseudonymous contribution may extend or reduce the term of copyright. For additional information see Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, chapter 600, section 615.2.


If the author’s legal name does not appear on any of the contributions and if you DO NOT wish to disclose the author’s identity in the registration record, leave the “Individual Author” spaces blank, check the box marked “Pseudonymous,” enter the author’s pseudonym in the space provided and in the spaces marked “First Name / Last Name.” Do not include the author’s legal name anywhere in the application (including the correspondent, mail certificate, and certification screens). If you include the author’s legal name anywhere in the application it becomes part of the public record and cannot be changed once a registration has issued.


Note: If the author’s pseudonym appears on some of the contributions, and if the author’s real name appears on the rest, you may register all of the contributions with the same application. But to do so you must disclose the author’s identity in the registration record. For example, if the author created 10 articles – and if the author’s real name only appears on 2 of those works – you may register all of them with this group registration option. But you would have to provide the author’s real name in the registration record for all 10 articles. As a result, none of the articles would be considered “pseudonymous contributions.”


Works Made for Hire As mentioned above, the contributions cannot be “works made for hire.”
A work made for hire is either

  • a contribution created by an employee within the scope of his or her employment.
    or
  • a contribution that is specially ordered or commissioned, provided that the parties expressly agree in a writing signed by both parties that the contribution is considered a “work made for hire,” and the contribution is specially ordered or commissioned for use as: :
    • a contribution to a collective work
    • a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work
    • a translation
    • a compilation
    • a test or answer material for a test
    • an atlas
    • 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)


    Author Created

    Check the appropriate boxes that best describe the copyrightable material that the author created.

    • Text may be used to describe contributions that contain a series of words or phrases, usually forming complete sentences that explain or narrate, such as articles, stories, or essays.
    • Photograph(s) may be used to describe a photographic image.
    • Illustrations may be used to describe two-dimensional artwork, illustrative matter such as drawings, cartoons, or other non-photographic pictorial representations.

    If these terms do not fully describe the contributions, you may provide a more specific description in the field marked “Other.”


    Claimant

    On the “Claimants” screen you should provide the full name and address of the copyright claimant(s).


    As mentioned above, the copyright claimant for all the contributions must be the same person or organization.


    If you are the claimant, you may enter your name and address by clicking the “Add Me” button on the Claimant screen. The information from your profile will populate the appropriate fields. Check to ensure that the information is correct, and then click the “Save” button.

    If you are completing the application on behalf of the copyright claimant, click “New” and enter the claimant’s name and address in the spaces provided, and then click the “Save” button.


    The author may always be named as a claimant, even if the author transferred his or her rights to another person or entity.


    The claimant may also be a person or entity that has obtained ownership of the contributions. But to be named as a claimant, that person or organization must own all of the rights in all of the contributions. A party that owns the copyright in some – but not all – of the contributions cannot be named as a claimant. Likewise, a party that owns some – but not all – of the exclusive rights in those contributions cannot be a copyright claimant.


    Transfer of All Rights
    A person or organization that is not the author may be named as the copyright claimant, but only if that party obtained ownership of all of the rights in all of the contributions, either in writing or by operation of law. A written transfer must be signed by the party transferring the copyright or by that party’s authorized agent. Alternatively, copyright ownership may be transferred by the provisions of a will or by operation of law, for example, by operation of bankruptcy law or state community property law.


    Transfer Statement

    If the claimant is not the author of the contributions, you must provide a transfer statement explaining how that claimant acquired ownership of all of the rights in those works.


    Select the phrase “By written agreement” if the claimant obtained copyright ownership in a written agreement. This includes transfers that occurred “by assignment” or “by contract.”


    Select the phrase “By inheritance” if the claimant obtained copyright ownership from a person who is deceased. This includes transfers that occurred “by will” or “by intestate succession.”


    If necessary, select “Other” and provide a brief statement explaining how copyright ownership was transferred. For example, if the transfer occurred by operation of law other than inheritance, select “Other” and briefly describe how the transfer was made, such as “by operation of state community property law”.