Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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1002.1 Website

1002.1 Website

For purposes of copyright registration, the U.S. Copyright Office defines the registrable content of a “website” as a webpage or set of interconnected webpages, including a homepage, located on the same computer or server (i.e., fixed together on that computer or server), and prepared and maintained as a collection of information by a person, group, or organization.

Members of the public access the information and other works on a website by using a uniform resource locator (“URL”) that is organized under a particular domain name. Each URL address or file-path leads to a distinct webpage or file resource. When the user opens a webpage with a browser application, the user’s computer retrieves data from the URL and the browser assembles, coordinates, and arranges the data for presentation as a screen display based on a set of layout instructions from the hypertext markup language (“HTML”), style sheet, or other markup language for that page. The actual content of the website may be embedded in the HTML or may be contained in a file retrieved by the markup language.

A key element of a website is that the user can browse through the content on the site by scrolling through each webpage, by using internal hypertext links, or by using a search feature. This is in contrast to a database, which does not disclose the underlying content to the user but instead requires a search query to find and access particular information contained within the database that matches the parameters of each query.

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