1112 Group Registration of Database Updates and Revisions
This Section discusses the U.S. Copyright Office’s current practices and procedures for registering a group of updates or revisions to a database.
This group registration option may be used to register a specific version of a database that existed on a particular date and/or the subsequent updates or revisions to that database within a three-month period. It may be used to register a group of updates or revisions to a single-file or a multi-file database, regardless of whether prior versions of the database have been registered before.
This Section also discusses the Office’s current practices and procedures for registering updates or revisions to a database that predominantly consists of photographs.
As discussed below, the Office allows applicants to register groups of photographs, provided that certain requirements have been met. The procedures for registering a group of photographs are discussed in Section 1114, and the procedures for registering photographs that have been published as a contribution to a periodical are discussed in Section 1110. Individual photographers may use any of these options to register their images, but they cannot use the group registration option for photographic databases, even if their images have been included in a database that consists predominantly of photographs. The group registration option for photographic databases is only available for database owners, such as stock photography agencies and other copyright owners that wish to register the authorship involved in creating the database, as well as the photographs within the database that were authored by or transferred to the copyright claimant. See Deposit Requirements for Registration of Automated Databases that Predominantly Consist of Photographs, 77 Fed. Reg. 40,268, 40,269 & n.1 (July 9, 2012).
Databases pose special problems for the Office because they are constantly changing and the updates or revisions typically contain small increments of information. Due to the processing costs and administrative burdens involved with examining these types of works, the Office applies this regulation narrowly and does not apply this group registration option to other groups of related works. In particular, this option cannot be used to register the updates or revisions to a website or a computer program. While a website may be used to access a database and a computer program may be used to manipulate the information within a database, these works are not databases as defined in Section 1112.1 below.
See generally Registration of Claims to Copyright, Registration and Deposit of Databases, 54 Fed. Reg. 13,177 (Mar. 31, 1989).