1111.2 What Is a Short Online Literary Work?
A “short online literary work” is a work consisting of text that contains at least 50 but no more than 17,500 words that was published as part of a website or online platform. 37 C.F.R. § 202.4(j) (1).
To qualify for this group registration option, a literary work must contain a sufficient number of words, and the work cannot be comprised mainly of numbers or other verbal or numerical symbols or indicia. Examples of works that typically satisfy this requirement include poems, short stories, articles, essays, columns, blog entries, and social media posts.
A work will be considered an “online” literary work if it was first published on the internet. For example, this requirement may be satisfied if a copy or copies of the work were first distributed to the public as part of a newspaper website, social media website, or social networking platform. It may be satisfied if a copy or copies of the work were first distributed on a website or platform that is protected by a password or paywall.
Likewise, a work may be eligible for this option if copies were simultaneously published both on the internet and in a physical form. By contrast, a work would not qualify for this option if the copies were distributed solely in a physical form or were distributed in a physical form prior to being published on the internet.
Because each work must be published “as part” of a website or online platform, the website or platform itself would not qualify for this option; only the discrete works that are published on a website or platform are eligible. Likewise, the following types of works cannot be registered with this option, even if they contain 50 to 17,500 words and even if they were first published online:
• Computer programs
• Collective works
See 37 C.F.R. § 202.4(j) (1); Group Registration of Short Online Literary Works, 85 Fed. Reg. 37,341, 37,342, 37,344 & n.33 (June 22, 2020); Group Registration of Short Online Literary Works, 83 Fed. Reg. 65,612, 65,613-14 & n. 28 (Dec. 21, 2018).