1010.1 Deposit Requirements for Registration
To register a website or website content, the applicant must submit a deposit containing the copyrightable content that is claimed in the application.
When examining the deposit for a website or website content, the U.S. Copyright Office will apply the same rules that apply to any other type of work. For example, the registration specialist will consider the type of authorship that is claimed in the application, whether the work is published or unpublished, and whether the applicant satisfied the applicable deposit requirements for that type of work.
If the work is unpublished, the deposit copy may include all of the content that is owned by the copyright claimant as of the date that the application is submitted. If the work has been published, the deposit copies should include the content as it existed on the date of first publication specified in the application, and the claim should be limited to the content that was first published on the date.
The deposit must contain a complete copy of all the copyrightable authorship that is claimed in the application or appropriate identifying material (if identifying material is an acceptable form of deposit for that type of work). For example, to register an entire website, the applicant should submit a deposit containing all the authorship that the applicant intends to register, regardless of the number of pages or screens that appear on the site. To register a particular work contained on a website, the applicant should submit an appropriate deposit for that type of work. To register the authorship involved in selecting, coordinating, and/or arranging works on a website, the applicant must submit a deposit that adequately displays the compilation authorship that is claimed in the application.
In all cases, the applicant must submit fixed copy(ies) or phonorecord(s) of the work that the applicant intends to register. The U.S. Copyright Office will not accept a link to a website or other online source that merely provides access to content that continually changes.
The fixed copy(ies) or phonorecord(s) should be submitted in a format that allows the registration specialist to perceive the actual content and context where the work appears on a given website or webpage. In other words, the deposit should show how the content would be perceived when a user accesses that content in the online environment. The specialist may communicate with the applicant or may refuse registration if the applicant submits separate files or folders containing unassembled content or content that has been disassociated from the website or webpage where it originally appeared.
As the technological means of fixing and normalizing websites and their content evolve into easier solutions and standardized formats, the Office will seek to provide additional guidance on the fixation of websites. At the present time, the PDF format standard is the preferred means for submitting websites and website content. For information concerning this format and the methods for submitting the deposit to the Office, see Section 1010.3.
As a general rule, a registration for a website or for website content does not cover any authorship or works that are not included in the deposit. However, there is a limited exception to this rule. A registration for a computer program or database may cover the entire work, even if the applicant submits only a portion of the source code for that program or a representative selection of the records from the database. For information concerning the deposit requirements for these types of works, see Chapter 1500, Sections 1509.1 (C) and 1509.1 (D).
The registration specialist may communicate with the applicant if the deposit appears incomplete. If the work is relatively short (based on the number of printed pages or downloaded pages that will be submitted), the applicant should submit the entire website and should provide a brief statement confirming that the deposit contains the complete site. This may avoid the need to communicate with the applicant to determine whether the entire work has been submitted. When completing an online application, the applicant may provide this information in the Note to Copyright Office field. When completing a paper application, the applicant may provide this information in a cover letter.