1107.7 Scope of Protection for Serial Issues Registered Under the Group Registration Option
A registration for a group of serial issues covers each issue in the group, and each issue is registered as a separate collective work. 37 C.F.R. § 202.4(n).
As discussed in Section 1107.2 (A), a group registration may cover the articles, photographs, illustrations, or other contributions appearing within each issue. Specifically, the registration covers the individual contributions if they were first published in those issues and if the contributions were fully owned by the copyright claimant when the claim was submitted. If the contributions were not fully owned by the copyright claimant, or if they were previously published, then the group registration will not extend to those contributions. This may have several consequences in an infringement action. First, a group registration may be used to satisfy the statutory requirements for instituting an infringement action involving any of the issues that were included within the group, or any of the individual contributions appearing within those issues–provided that the claimant fully owned those contributions at the time the application was submitted, and provided that the contributions were first published in one of those issues. See 17 U.S.C. § 411 (A).
Second, the group as a whole is not considered a compilation, a collective work, or a derivative work. Instead, the group is merely an administrative classification created solely for the purpose of registering multiple issues with one application and one filing fee. The chronological selection, coordination, and arrangement of the issues within the group is entirely dictated by the regulatory requirements for this option. Likewise, when a group of serials are combined for the purpose of facilitating registration, those issues are not “recast, transformed, or adapted” in any way, and the group as a whole is not “a work based upon one or more preexisting works,” because there is no copyright authorship in simply collecting a group of issues that were published within a three month period. 17 U.S.C. § 101 (definition of “derivative work”).
See generally Group Registration of Serials, 83 Fed. Reg. 22,896, 22,899 (May 17, 2018).