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

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1103 The Unit of Publication Option

1103 The Unit of Publication Option

The U.S. Copyright Office has established an administrative procedure that allows an applicant to register a number of works that were physically packaged or bundled together as a single unit by the claimant and first published on the same date. This is known as the “unit of publication” option.

A registration issued under this option covers each work in the unit that is owned by the copyright claimant.

A unit of publication is different from a group registration in that the works in the unit cannot be aggregated simply for the purpose of registration, but rather must have been first distributed to the public in the packaged unit. A unit of publication is also different from a collective work in that the unit is not a compilation of works, but rather a package of separate and distinct copies or phonorecords that are physically bundled together and distributed to the public as a unit, such as a board game containing instructions, a game board, and sculpted playing pieces. In some cases, a unit may contain a compilation or collective work, such as a CD containing sound recordings packaged together with cover art and liner notes.

For additional information concerning the Office’s group registration options, see Section 1105. For additional information concerning collective works, see Chapter 500, Section 509.1 and Chapter 600, Sections 610.4, 613.8, 618.7, 620.8, and 621.8 (D).

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