1111.3 (D) All the Works Must Be First Published Online within Three Consecutive Calendar Months
As discussed in Section 1111.2, all of the works must be first published as part of a website or online platform. The works may be published on the same site or different sites, but they must be published within three consecutive calendar months. They do not need to be published within the same calendar year.
• Jamelle Worthington published five social media posts on Facebook, Reddit, and LinkedIn on January 28, February 28, and March 28, 2020. She may register all of these posts with the same application.
Jamelle also published two articles on politico.com and thehill.com on December 31, 2019 and April 1, 2020. Jamelle cannot register these two articles and the five social media posts with the same application, because they were not published within three consecutive calendar months.
This option may only be used to register published literary works. It cannot be used to register a group of unpublished literary works. Likewise, it cannot be used to register a mix of published and unpublished literary works. If any of the works have not been published at the time of submission, the applicant should not include those works in the claim.
The applicant is responsible for determining if the works have been published online, and generally, the U.S. Copyright Office will accept that determination unless it is implausible or contradicted by information provided in the registration materials or in the Office’s records or by information that is known to the registration specialist.
The person or entity who owns the copyright in a literary work determines whether that work should be published. If the author or copyright owner decides to publish a particular work on the internet, that party decides when, where, and how that work should be published. For purposes of registration, a short online literary work is published on the specific month, day, and year that a copy or multiple copies of that work are distributed to the public for the first time.
A literary work is also published when one or more copies of that work are offered to a group of persons for the first time for purposes of further distribution or public display. For instance, a work may be published when a writer offers one copy of that work to social media websites or social networking platforms along with a license to further distribute or publicly display that work. However, the mere public display of a literary work, in and of itself, does not constitute publication.
See 37 C.F.R. § 202.4(j) (1), (2); Group Registration of Short Online Literary Works, 85 Fed. Reg. 37,341, 37,344 (June 22, 2020); Group Registration of Short Online Literary
Works, 83 Fed. Reg. 65,612, 65,614, 65,615 (Dec. 21, 2018).