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

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1111.3 (C) The Number of Words in Each Work

1111.3 (C) The Number of Words in Each Work

A literary work may qualify for this option if it contains at least 50 words and no more than 17,500 words. The 50-word threshold is intended to exclude short phrases and slogans and other short forms of expression that contain less than a paragraph of text. The 17,500-word limit is intended to exclude novels, novellas, and similar lengthy works that are not typically created or updated on a rapid and continuing basis.

NOTE: The 50 word limit applies only to the eligibility requirements for this group registration option. It is not intended to establish a general threshold for evaluating the copyrightability of literary works.

As discussed in Section 1111.6, the applicant must prepare and submit a sequentially numbered list specifying the title, file name, publication date, and word count for each work. The registration specialist will use this information to determine if the works contain an acceptable number of words. If a particular work contains less than 50 words or more than 17,500 words, the specialist will remove that work from the record.

See 37 C.F.R. § 202.4(j) (1); Group Registration of Short Online Literary Works, 85 Fed. Reg. 37,341, 37,342-43 (June 22, 2020); Group Registration of Short Online Literary

Works, 83 Fed. Reg. 65,612, 65,613-14 (Dec. 21, 2018).

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