1109.7 Scope of Protection for Newsletter Issues Registered Under the Group Registration Option


1109.7 Scope of Protection for Newsletter Issues Registered Under the Group Registration Option


A registration for a group of newsletter issues covers each issue in the group, and each issue is registered as a separate issue or a separate collective work, as the case may be. 37 C.F.R. § 202.4(n).


As discussed in Section 1109.6 (G), a registration for a collective work may cover the articles, photographs, illustrations, or other contributions appearing within that work. Specifically, a group registration covers the individual contributions if they were first published in the newsletter and if the contributions were fully owned by the copyright claimant when the application was filed. 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 newsletter issues that were included within the group. Likewise, it may be used to enforce the copyright in any of the individual contributions appearing within an issue that qualifies as a collective work–provided that the claimant fully owned those contributions when the application was submitted, and provided that they were first published in one of those issues.


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 are entirely dictated by the regulatory requirements for this option. Likewise, when two or more newsletters are combined for the purpose of facilitating registration, those newsletters 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 the same month. 17 U.S.C. § 101 (definition of “derivative work”).


See generally Group Registration of Newsletters, 82 Fed. Reg. 22,902, 22,905 (May 17, 2018).


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