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

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1404 Paper Applications

1404 Paper Applications

The U.S. Copyright Office strongly encourages applicants to use the Standard Application rather than a paper application. Claims submitted through the electronic registration system can be examined more quickly and efficiently, and as a result, the Office charges a lower filing fee for the Standard Application. However, the Office will accept paper applications for claims involving the following types of works:

• Form TX may be used to seek a basic registration for a nondramatic literary work, 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, textual works made available online, or a database.

• Form VA may be used to seek a basic registration for a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, including two-dimensional or three-dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art, photographs, print or art reproductions, maps, and technical drawings.

NOTE: A paper application may not be used to register an architectural work. To register this type of work, applicants must use the Standard Application.

• Form PA may be used to register musical works (either with or without lyrics), dramatic works (such as a screenplay, play, or other script), pantomimes, choreographic works, or motion pictures and other audiovisual works (such as feature films, documentary films, animated films, television shows, videos, or videogames).

• Form SR must be used if the applicant intends to register sound recording authorship with a paper application, even if the work contains additional types of authorship, such as music or lyrics. If the applicant does not intend to register a sound recording, Form SR should not be used (even if the work contains one or more sound recordings). Likewise, the applicant should not use Form SR 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).

• Form SE may be used to register a single issue of a serial publication (e.g., magazines, journals). This form also may be used to register a serial 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 only intends to register an individual contribution with a paper application, the applicant should use Form TX, Form VA, or Form PA instead of Form SE. For a detailed discussion of single issue serials, see Chapter 700, Section 712.

• Form MW must be used to register a claim in a mask work that is fixed in a semiconductor chip product by or under the authority of the owner of the mask work. A mask work is a series of related images, however fixed or encoded, having or representing the predetermined, three-dimensional pattern of metallic, insulating, or semiconductor material present or removed from the layers of a semiconductor chip product, and in which the relation of the images to one another is such that each image has the pattern of the surface of one form of the semiconductor chip product. For more information on mask works, see Chapter 1200.

• Form D-VH must be used to register a claim in a vessel design. These forms apply only to water crafts that are designed and capable of (I) independently steering a course on or through water by themselves or via propulsion, and (ii) transporting one or more passengers. For more information on vessel designs, see Chapter 1300.

When preparing a paper application applicants must use the official forms that are provided by the Office. The information provided on the application must be legible and should be typewritten or printed in black ink. If an applicant needs more space, he or she may provide additional information with a continuation sheet submitted on Form CON.

The applications listed above may not be used to seek a supplementary registration, a renewal registration, or a registration for a restored work. See Streamlining the Single Application and Clarifying Eligibility Requirements, 83 Fed. Reg. 5227, 5229 (Feb. 6,


Likewise, these forms may not be used to register a group of related works, unless it is expressly permitted under the Office’s regulations. Specifically, Form VA may be used to register a group of updates or revisions to a photographic database, and Form TX must be used to register a group of updates or revisions to any other type of database. See id.

§ 202.3 (B) (5)(ii) (A).

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