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

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1403 The Standard Application

1403 The Standard Application

The Standard Application is an online form that may be submitted through the U.S. Copyright Office’s electronic registration system. For specific information on how to complete the various fields in this application, see Chapter 600.

The Office offers different versions of this application, which may be used to register for the following types of works:

• Literary works include nondramatic literary works, such as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, an individual article, a textbook, a reference work, a directory, a catalog, advertising copy, a compilation of information, a computer program, a textual work made available online, or a database.

• Works of the visual arts include pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, such as two- dimensional or three-dimensional works of fine, graphic, or applied art, photographs, prints, art reproductions, maps, technical drawings, or architectural works.

• Works of the performing arts include musical works (either with or without lyrics), dramatic works (such as a screenplay, play, or other script), pantomimes, and choreographic works.

• Sound recordings are works that contain sound recording authorship. An applicant must select the option for “sound recording” if he or she intends to register that element of the work with the Standard Application (even if the work also contains other types of authorship, such as music or lyrics). If the applicant does not intend to register sound recording authorship, the work should be registered using the form that would be appropriate for the predominant type of copyrightable authorship in that work (even if it happens to contain one or more sound recordings). Likewise, the applicant should not select the option for “sound recording” if the applicant intends to register the sounds accompanying a motion picture or other audiovisual work.

NOTE: The Office only registers sound recordings that were fixed on or after February 15, 1972. For information concerning this issue, see Chapter 800, Section 803.5 (D).

• Motion picture/audiovisual works include feature films, documentary films, animated films, television shows, videos, videogames, or other audiovisual works, such as slide presentations. This category also applies if the applicant intends to register the sounds that accompany a motion picture or other audiovisual work.

• Single serial issue refers to a single issue of a serial publication (e.g., a single issue of a magazine, a single volume of a journal, etc.). The Standard Application also may be used to register a single serial issue together with the individual contributions appearing within that issue, if they are fully owned by the claimant when the claim is submitted, and if they have not been published or registered before. If the applicant intends to register an individual contribution, but does not intend to register the issue as a whole, the applicant should use the appropriate form for a “Literary Work” or a “Work of the Visual Arts.” For a detailed discussion of single issue serials, see Chapter 700, Section 712.

The Standard Application may not be used to seek a supplementary registration, a renewal registration, or a registration for a restored work, a mask work, or a vessel design. See Streamlining the Single Application and Clarifying Eligibility Requirements, 83 Fed. Reg. 5227, 5229 (Feb. 6, 2018).

Likewise, this form may not be used to register a group of related works, unless it is expressly permitted under the Office’s regulations. Specifically, the Standard Application may be used to register a group of secure test items. 37 C.F.R. § 202.13 (C) (1). It also may be used to register a group of updates or revisions to a photographic database, but only if the applicant has obtained prior authorization from the Visual Arts Division. See id. § 202.3 (B) (5)(ii) (A).

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