Copyright Compendium

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1009.8 Limitation of Claim

 

1009.8 Limitation of Claim

 

As discussed in Section 1008.1, a registration for a website or website content covers the copyrightable material that was created by the author(s) named in the application that is owned by the claimant named in the application, provided that the material is expressly described in the application and is contained in the deposit copy(ies).

 

A registration for a website or website content does not cover any material that has been previously published or previously registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Nor does it cover material that is in the public domain or material that is not owned by the copyright claimant. If the website contains an appreciable amount of previously published material, previously registered material, public domain material, or third party material, the applicant should exclude that material from the claim.

 

• Previously published material: Frequently applicants submit websites or website content that contain previously published material, but fail to exclude that material from the claim. If the deposit copy(ies) contain material, that was published on any day or twenty-four period prior to the date of first publication specified in the application, the applicant should exclude that material using the procedure described in Chapter 600, Section 621.8 (B). When completing an online application, the applicant should identify the previously published material on the Limitation of Claim screen in the Material Excluded field. When completing a paper application, the applicant should identify this material in space 6 (A) under the heading marked Preexisting Material.

 

• Previously registered material: If the deposit copy(ies) contain material that has been previously registered, the applicant should exclude that material from the claim (regardless of whether the material is published or unpublished). Specifically, the applicant should provide the registration number and year of registration for the previously registered material in the Previous Registration field of the online application or in space 5 of the paper application. For guidance in completing this portion of the application, see Chapter 600, Section 621.8 (F).

 

• Content owned by a third party: If the deposit copy(ies) contain content that is owned by someone other than the claimant, the applicant should exclude that content from the claim (regardless of whether the content is published or unpublished). When completing an online application, the applicant should identify the third party content in the Material Excluded field. When completing a paper application the applicant should provide this information in space 6 (A). For guidance in completing this portion of the application, see Chapter 600, Sections 621.7 and 621.8 (B).

 

• Public domain material: If the deposit copy(ies) contain material that is in the public domain, the applicant should identify that material in the Material Excluded field of the online application or in space 6 (B) of the paper application. For guidance in completing this portion of the application, see Chapter 600, Sections 621.7 and 621.8 (B).

 

In addition, the applicant should identify the new copyrightable material that the author contributed to the website or the website content. When completing an online application, the applicant should provide this information on the Limitation of Claim screen. Specifically, the applicant should check one or more of the boxes in the New Material Included field that accurately describes the author’s contribution. If none of these terms fully describe the new material that the author contributed to the website, the applicant should provide a more specific description in the field marked Other. For guidance on completing this field, see Chapter 600, Section 621.8 (C) (1).

 

When completing a paper application, the applicant should provide this information in space 6 (B) under the heading marked Material Added to This Work. For guidance in completing this portion of the application, see Chapter 600, Section 621.8 (C) (2).

 

NOTE: The New Material Included field should be completed only if material has been excluded from the claim in the Material Excluded field. Likewise, space 6 (B) of the paper application should be completed only if material has been excluded from the claim in space 6 (A).

 

As a general rule, the information that the applicant provides in the New Material Included field should be identical to the information that the applicant provides in the Author Created field. Likewise, the information that the applicant provides in space 6 (A) of the paper application should be identical to the information that that the applicant provides in space 2 under the heading marked Nature of Authorship.

 

The applicant should only identify the new material created by the author(s) named in the application that is owned by the copyright claimant. The applicant should not mention any material that is not owned by the claimant, material that will not be submitted for registration, or material that does not appear in the deposit copy(ies). If there is anything in the registration material that casts doubt on the accuracy of the claim, the registration specialist may communicate with the applicant.

 

Example:

 

• Alexander Temple writes a blog called “Don’t Tread On Me.” The blog contains musings about politics, together with photographs created by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and other federal government agencies. Alexander submits an online application along with printouts from his blog. In the application, Alexander asserts a claim in his “website,” but he fails to complete the Limitation of Claim screen. The registration specialist will ask the applicant to describe the new material that he contributed as “text” and “compilation of text and photographs” in the Author Created and New Material Included fields. The photographs appear to be in the public domain, because they were created by employees of the U.S. government. Therefore, the specialist will ask the applicant to exclude that material from the claim by checking the box marked “photographs” in the Material Excluded field.