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

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1109.2 (B) Discrete, Self-Contained Works


1109.2 (B) Discrete, Self-Contained Works


Each newsletter issue must be fixed and distributed as a discrete, self-contained work. 37 C.F.R. § 202.4 (F) (1)(iii). A newsletter may satisfy this requirement if the issue as a whole is fixed in a tangible medium of expression, and the content of each issue does not change once it has been distributed. For example, a publisher that mails a newsletter to its subscribers would satisfy this requirement, because the issue is clearly fixed and distributed in a physical format. A publisher that emails an electronically printed (“ePrint”) newsletter to its subscribers may satisfy this requirement if each issue contains a fixed selection of content, such as a PDF version of a physical publication. Similarly, a publisher that allows its subscribers to download an ePrint newsletter from its website may satisfy this requirement if each issue is distributed as a self-contained work and if the content of each issue does not change once it has been downloaded.


By contrast, a newsletter website would not satisfy this requirement. Websites typically add, archive, and/or replace content on a continuing basis. As such, they are not fixed and distributed as discrete, self-contained works. Moreover, these updates are rarely distributed on an established schedule, and rarely contain numerical or chronological designations distinguishing one update from the next. For this reason, websites are not considered “newsletters” for purposes of registration.


See Group Registration of Newsletters, 83 Fed. Reg. 22,902, 22,904 (May 17, 2018).


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