U.S. Copyright Office Issues a Notice of Inquiry on Online Publication
Issue No. 790 - December 4, 2019

The Copyright Office invites public comments on issues related to online publication. Copyright registration applicants are required to indicate whether or not a work has been published and, if so, to provide the date and nation of first publication.

The Office leaves the determination of whether or not a work is published to the applicant, though the Office provides some guidance. Increasingly, applicants whose works have been posted on the internet or otherwise shared digitally have expressed frustration about how to determine if their works have been published.

This notice solicits suggestions from copyright owners and others regarding possible new regulations interpreting the statutory definition of publication and on the role that publication should play in copyright law and the registration process.

The notice and instructions on how to submit a comment are available here. Written comments must be received no later than February 3, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. eastern time.