1105.1 What Is a Group Registration?
When Congress enacted the Copyright Act of 1976, it authorized the Register of Copyrights to establish “the administrative classes into which works are to be placed for purposes of deposit and registration, and the nature of the copies or phonorecords to be deposited in the various classes specified.” 17 U.S.C. § 408 (C) (1). In addition, Congress gave the Register the discretion to “require or permit… a single registration for a group of related works.” Id.
As the legislative history explains, allowing “a number of related works to be registered together as a group represent[ed] a needed and important liberalization of the law.” H.R. REP. NO. 94-1476, at 154 (1976), reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5659, 5770. Congress
recognized that requiring separate applications “where related works or parts of a work are published separately” may impose “unnecessary burdens and expenses on authors and other copyright owners.” Id. In some cases, requiring separate applications and a separate filing fee may cause copyright owners to forego registration altogether. See id.
If copyright owners do not submit their works for registration, the public record will not contain any information concerning those works. This diminishes the overall value of the registration record, and may deprive the public of historical and cultural artifacts that might otherwise be included in the collections of the Library of Congress.
To address these concerns, the Office asked the public for suggestions and comments concerning the types of related works that might be suitable for group registration, as well as the requirements that should govern each group. See Part 202 – Registration of Claims to Copyright, 43 Fed. Reg. 763, 765 (Jan. 4, 1978).