Help: Type of Work

Literary Work

Select Literary Work if you are registering a nondramatic literary work. Literary Works include a wide variety of works such as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, textbooks, reference works, directories, catalogs, advertising copy, compilations of information, computer programs and databases.

Work of the Visual Arts

Select Work of the Visual Arts if you are registering a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work. Visual Arts works include two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art; photographs; prints and art reproductions, maps; technical drawings; and architectural works.

Work of the Performing Arts

Select Work of the Performing Arts if you are registering a musical work (with or without lyrics); a dramatic work, such as a screenplay, play or other script; a pantomime; or a choreographic work. Note: If the work includes a sound recording and if you intend to register that element of the work, select Sound Recording as the type of work.

Sound Recording

Select Sound Recording if you are registering a sound recording. Also, select Sound Recording if you are registering both a sound recording and the underlying musical, dramatic, or literary work(s) that is embodied in that recording. Note: To register both the sound recording and the work embodied in that recording on one application, the copyright claimant must own all rights in both works.

Note: Under the copyright law, the sounds that accompany a motion picture or other audiovisual work are not considered a sound recording. Select Motion Picture/Audiovisual as the “Type of Work” to register the sounds accompanying a motion picture or an audiovisual work.

Motion Picture/Audiovisual Work

Select Motion Picture/AV Work if you are registering a feature film, documentary film, animated film, television show, video, videogame, or other audiovisual work. An audiovisual work is a work that consists of a series of related images that are intended to be shown by the use of a machine or device, together with accompanying sounds, if any.

Works That Include More Than One Type of Authorship

If you are registering more than one type of authorship in a work, select the Type of Work that best matches the predominant authorship appearing in that work. For example, if you are registering a book that is mostly text and also contains a few photographs, select Literary Work. Or, if you are registering a book that is mostly photographs and contains a small amount of text, select Visual Arts. If the two types are almost equal, choose either Type of Work.

EXCEPTION: For any registration that includes a claim in sound recording, select Sound Recording as the Type of Work, whether or not the sound recording is the predominant type of authorship in that work.

If a work contains more than one type of authorship, but you are registering only one element of the work, select the Type of Work that corresponds to the element you are registering. For example, if a book is mainly text with one photograph, but you are registering only the photograph, select Visual Arts as the Type of Work.

Single Serial Issue

Serials are works issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely. Examples include periodicals, newspapers, magazines, bulletins, newsletters, annuals, journals, proceedings of societies, and other similar works.

Important Note: To register a serial, you must use the Standard Application, rather than the Single Application. If you selected the option for “one work by one author,” please return to the home screen and select the option for “Standard Application.”

When completing the Standard Application you may register a single issue of a serial publication by selecting the option for “Single Serial Issue” or “Literary Work.”

Select “Single Serial Issue” if you are registering a serial that has been published, and if the serial qualifies as a “collective work.” A “collective work” is defined as a work, such as a periodical issue, in which a number of contributions, constituting separate and independent works in themselves, are assembled into a collective whole.

If the serial issue has not been published or if it does not qualify as a collective work, select the option for “Literary Work” instead of the option for “Single Issue Serial.”

Note that a registration for a serial issue covers only the content of that particular issue. A claim to copyright in a single issue of a serial does not give blanket protection for other issues published under the same serial title. Each issue is considered a separate work for copyright purposes. For example, registration of “vol. 1, no. 1” of Country Doctor applies only to that issue and not to “vol. 1, no. 2.”

The deposit requirement for a single serial issue is two copies of the serial issue being registered. (Send only one copy if the issue was first published outside of the United States.)

It may be possible to register multiple issues of the same serial with one application and one filing fee if the issues meet certain requirements. For more information about Group Registration of Newspapers and Newsletters click here. For more information about Group Registration of Serial Issues click here. If you determine you are eligible to register a group of issues, click “Home” and choose “Register Certain Groups of Published Works”.

Incorrect Type of Work Selected

The Type of Work you select determines the options that will be available as you complete the application.
Once selected, the Type of Work selection cannot be changed.  If the Type of Work selected is incorrect, you will need to begin a new application: 

  • Click the Home link
  • Click the appropriate registration application under “Copyright Registration”
  • Click the “Start Registration” button to begin a new application
  • Consult the help links for guidance in selecting the appropriate Type of Work

You should also discard the unused application:

  • Click the Home link
  • Click the Working Cases link under “Check Case Status”
  • Find the case to be discarded in the list of “Working Cases”
  • Click the corresponding “Discard” link

Note: Discarded cases cannot be re-opened