1110.1 What Is a Contribution to a Periodical?
For purposes of this group registration option, a contribution to a periodical is defined as a separate and independent work that has been published in a periodical. Examples include an article published in a newspaper, a photograph published in a magazine, an illustration published in a journal, and other similar works.
A periodical is defined as “a collective work that is issued or intended to be issued on an established schedule in successive issues that are intended to be continued indefinitely. In most cases, each issue will bear the same title, as well as numerical or chronological designations.” 37 C.F.R. § 202.4 (B) (3).
An applicant may be permitted to register articles, blog entries, artwork, photographs, or other contributions that were first published in an electronically printed (“ePrint”) publication if that publication fits within the definition of a “periodical.” An ePrint publication may be considered a periodical for purposes of registration if it is fixed and distributed online or via email as a self-contained work, such as a digital version of a tangible newspaper, magazine, newsletter, or similar publication. For example, many companies publish electronic newsletters that contain articles on a particular subject, and distribute these publications to their subscribers either online or via email. An article published in an ePrint newsletter could be considered a contribution to a periodical if each issue of the newsletter is fixed and distributed as a self-contained work and if the content of each issue does not change once it has been distributed.
As a general rule, websites are not considered periodicals for purposes of registration. Websites are typically updated on a continual basis rather than an established schedule. The updates are rarely made in successive issues that can be recognized as discrete, self- contained collective works, and they rarely contain numerical or chronological designations that distinguish one update from the next. For these reasons, an applicant may register a group of articles that were first published in a print or ePrint edition of a magazine. Likewise, an applicant may register a group of articles that were first published in a print or ePrint magazine and simultaneously published on the publisher’s website. But an applicant may not register a group of articles that were published solely on a website unless that site satisfies the definition for a periodical.
See Group Registration of Contributions to Periodicals, 82 Fed. Reg. 29,410, 29,412 (June 29, 2017); Group Registration of Contributions to Periodicals, 81 Fed. Reg. 86,634,
86,638-39 (Dec. 1, 2016); Mandatory Deposit of Published Electronic Works Available Only Online, 75 Fed. Reg. 3863, 3865 (Jan. 25, 2010).