1109.2 (A) Each Work Must Be an All-New Issue or an All-New Collective Work
A newsletter may be eligible for group registration if it qualifies as an “all-new” issue or an “all-new” collective work. 37 C.F.R. § 202.4 (F) (1)(iii).
A newsletter will be considered a collective work if it contains “a number of contributions” that constitute “separate and independent works in themselves,” and if the contributions “are assembled into a collective whole” “in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship.” 17 U.S.C. § 101 (definition of “collective work” and “compilation”). For example, a newsletter that contains multiple articles, photographs, illustrations, and advertisements could be considered a collective work if those contributions are selected, coordinated, and arranged in a sufficiently creative manner.
An issue that contains a single article and a single photograph would not be considered a collective work, because it does not contain a sufficient number of contributions. H.R. REP. NO. 94-1476, at 122 (1976), reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5659, 5737. Nevertheless, an issue may still be eligible for group registration if it satisfies the other requirements set forth in Section 1109.2.
In this respect, the newsletter option differs from the group registration options for serials and newspapers. To register a group of serials or newspapers, each issue in the group must be a collective work. By contrast, a publisher may register a group of newsletters, regardless of whether the issues satisfy the statutory definition for a collective work.
A newsletter may qualify as an “all new” collective work if it contains a sufficient amount of new compilation authorship. In other words, there must be new expression in the selection, coordination, and/or arrangement of the articles, photographs, or other content appearing in each issue. Whether the content itself is entirely new is irrelevant to this determination. For instance, an issue that contains a brand new selection, coordination, and arrangement of content could be considered “all new,” even if that content has been previously published in the newsletter, such as advertisements appearing in previous issues.
See Group Registration of Newsletters, 83 Fed. Reg. 22,902, 22,903-04 (May 17, 2018).