1109.5 (D) Special Relief
As a general rule, the U.S. Copyright Office will not accept physical copies, such as a print copy of each issue. Likewise, the Office will not accept digital copies that have been saved onto a flash drive, disc, or other electronic storage device. Group Registration of Newsletters, 83 Fed. Reg. 22,902, 22,903 (May 17, 2018).
The Office recognizes that there may be cases where a publisher may not have a digital copy of their issues or may find it difficult to create a digital copy for purposes of seeking a group registration. If an applicant is unable to upload a particular issue to the electronic system, the applicant may request special relief from the deposit requirements. 37 C.F.R. § 202.4 (F) (4).
A request for special relief must be made in writing, and it should explain why the applicant is unable to upload digital files that satisfy the deposit requirements described in Section 1109.5 (A). The Office may grant a request for special relief, subject to such conditions that the Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of the Office of Registration Policy and Practice may impose on the applicant. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.20 (D) (1)(iii), (iv).
Requests for special relief will be considered on a case-by-case basis. But the fact that a newsletter is published in a physical form does not necessarily mean that a request will be granted. Newsletters are typically created using digital publishing software, even though the issue itself may be distributed in a physical form. The Office may accept an electronic file that was used to create the physical copy, if it contains a complete copy of the issue and satisfies the other legal and formal requirements for this group registration option.
For a general discussion of special relief, see Chapter 1500, Section 1508.8.