Updates


February 7, 2018 Release

The U.S. Copyright Office made the following upgrades to the electronic registration system:


  • A new online application for seeking a registration for a group of published photographs.
  • A new online application for seeking a registration for a group of unpublished photographs.

These upgrades are described below.


On January 18, 2018, the U.S. Copyright Office issued a final rule which amended its regulation governing group registration of published photographs (“GRPPH”) and created a new regulation governing group registration of unpublished photographs (“GRUPH”). 83 Fed. Reg. 2,542 (Jan. 18, 2018).


Beginning February 20th, applicants will be required to submit an online application specifically designed to register a group of published photographs or a group of unpublished photographs. The Office released the new applications ahead of the effective date to give photographers an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new forms.


Important Note: Although these new applications have been made available to the public, and can be filled out and prepared for submission at this time, they should not actually be used to submit any claims until the final rule goes into effect. If the Office receives any claims on these forms before that date, the effective date of registration will be reset to February 20, 2018. In the meantime, photographers may continue to use the Standard Application or a paper application to register a group of published photographs or a “collection” of unpublished photographs, but the claim must be received by February 19, 2018.


If an applicant attempts to use the Standard Application or a paper application after the final rule goes into effect, the Office will refuse the claim and instruct the applicant to submit a new application using the appropriate online application, along with a new filing fee and a new deposit.


Beginning February 20, 2018 each registration will be limited to 750 photographs by the same author, including a work-made-for-hire author. In the final rule the Office explained that in the case of a work-made-for-hire author the application would contain a space where applicants must provide employee information or the application will not be accepted by the system. This feature, however, was removed from the new applications. Applicants may complete an application for photographs by a work-made-for-hire author without providing the name(s) of the individual employee(s).


The final rule also states that applicants must submit a digital copy of each photo, and the file name for each image should not contain any form of punctuation. The Office was concerned that punctuation in the file name might cause a technical error that could prevent the system from opening the files. Now that the new applications have been tested and released, the Office has confirmed that punctuation should not cause this type of problem.


More information about the new requirements for GRPPH may be found here. More information about the new requirements for GRUPH may be found here. In addition, the Copyright Office will release video tutorials for GRPPH and GRUPH, which will provide step-by-step instructions for completing the new applications.


February 5, 2018 Release

The U.S. Copyright Office upgraded the electronic registration system by adding the following unique identifiers to the “International Standard Number” menu on the Publication / Completion screen:


  • International Standard Music Number (ISMN), a unique identifier assigned to published printed music.
  • International Standard Musical Work Code (ISWC), a unique identifier assigned to a musical work.
  • International Standard Audiovisual Number (ISAN), a unique identifier assigned to an audiovisual work.
  • International Standard Text Code (ISTC), a unique identifier assigned to a text based work.

These upgrades are described below.


On January 17, 2018, the Office published a final rule amending the Office’s deposit requirements for certain types of literary works and musical compositions. In its notice of proposed rulemaking, the Office noted that, in most cases, it does not retain a copy of published works if the applicant submitted the work in a physical format and the Library of Congress selected that work for its collections. The Office also noted that if applicants want to ensure that the Office retains a precise record of what was submitted for registration, they are encouraged to include an international standard number in the application if one has been assigned to the work. See Simplifying Deposit Requirements for Certain Literary Works andMusical Compositions, 82 Fed. Reg. 38,859 (Aug. 16, 2017).


In the past, the online application only included the identifiers for ISBN (International Standard Book Number), ISSN (International Standard Serial Number), and ISRC (International Standard Recording Code). Today’s technical upgrade enhances the online application by adding the other identifiers listed above.


When completing the Publication / Completion screen in the online application, applicants may select the appropriate prefix from the drop down menu marked “International Standard Number Type” and provide the relevant number in the field marked “International Standard Number.”


This number will appear on the certificate of registration, and in the case of an ISBN or ISSN, it also will appear in the online public record for that work. This information may be used to identify the specific work that was submitted for registration. Applicants should note, however, that the Office will not review the standard number to determine if it matches the number appearing on the deposit copy(ies). Therefore, applicants should confirm that the number has been entered correctly.


The Office does not assign standard numbers for works of authorship. In the United States, ISBNs, ISSNs, and other standard numbers are administered by the following organizations: