1103.2 Eligibility Requirements
An applicant may register a group of separately fixed works with one application, one filing fee, and the appropriate deposit copies, provided that the following conditions have been met:
• All of the copyrightable elements must be recognizable as self-contained works.
• All of the works claimed in the application must be first published as a single unit on the same date.
• The copyright claimant for all of the works claimed in the unit must be the same.
See 37 C.F.R. § 202.3 (B) (4). For additional guidance concerning the deposit requirements for a unit of publication, see Chapter 1500.
In addition, the claimant in the unit of publication must be the person or entity that physically bundled or caused the bundling of the works and elements together into the integrated unit.
Works that do not satisfy these requirements cannot be registered with the unit of publication option.
An applicant cannot use the unit of publication option to register a number of published and unpublished works. An applicant cannot use this option if the works were published on different dates. An applicant cannot use this option if the works were published in different units or first distributed as separate, individual works. Moreover, the unit cannot be created merely for the purpose of registration; instead it must have been distributed to the public as a single, integrated unit.
The application should expressly state that the applicant is seeking to register a number of works with the unit of publication option. For guidance on completing the application, see Section 1103.4.
An applicant may use this option to register the component works within a unit of publication if the claimant is the author of those works or acquired the copyright in those works through a transfer of ownership, provided that the claimant manufactured, produced, published, packaged, or otherwise created the single, integrated unit as a whole. In other words, the unit of publication option may be used only if the claimant packaged the unit as a whole. Moreover, the claimant must own the copyright in all the component works that are claimed in the application. If the unit contains component works that are not owned by the claimant, the applicant should exclude those works from the claim using the procedure described in Chapter 600, Section 621.8 (B).
A unit of publication may contain one or more collective works. But the unit of publication option is not an appropriate means for registering a collective work or the component works contained therein unless the collective work has been bundled together with other separately fixed component works and has been distributed to the public as a single, integrated unit on the same date. For example, a book of photographs and the images contained therein may be registered as a collective work if (I) the claimant owns the copyright in both the images and the authorship involved in creating the book as a whole, and (ii) if the images have not been previously published or previously registered and if they are not in the public domain. In such cases, the applicant should not use the unit of publication option. For guidance on registering a collective work, see Chapter 500, Section 509.1 and Chapter 600, Sections 610.4, 613.8, 618.7, 620.8, and 621.8 (D).
Moreover, the unit of publication option should not be viewed as a group registration option for registering contributions to published collective works. If the applicant is unable to register the component works with the unit of publication option, the applicant may register those works on an individual basis. Specifically, the applicant may prepare a separate application, filing fee, and deposit copies for each component work and may submit these items using the online application or a paper application.
As discussed in Chapter 500, Section 510, the Office generally issues only one registration per work. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.3 (B) (11). Therefore, when an applicant registers a number of self-contained works with the unit of publication option, the applicant cannot add additional works to that registration at a later date. Likewise, the applicant cannot register the component works within a unit of publication and then obtain separate registrations for those works, unless the applicant satisfies one or more of the exceptions set forth in Chapter 500, Sections 510.2 or 510.3. Works that are excluded from the claim must be registered separately as individual works.