Copyright Compendium

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1503.1 Overview of the Deposit Requirement

 

1503.1 Overview of the Deposit Requirement

 

To register a copyright claim with the U.S. Copyright Office, an applicant must submit (I) a completed application, (ii) the appropriate filing fee, and (iii) a complete deposit of the work.

 

Section 408 of the Copyright Act provides general requirements for registration deposit copies. These requirements vary depending on whether the applicant intends to register a published work, an unpublished work, or a foreign work.

 

• For unpublished works, the applicant generally should submit one complete copy or phonorecord of the work. See 17 U.S.C. § 408 (B) (1), 37 C.F.R. § 202.20 (C) (1) (I). In the case of an unpublished pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, the applicant generally may submit identifying material in lieu of an actual copy. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.20 (C) (2)(iv), (xi) (A).

 

• For works first published in the United States on or after January 1, 1978, the applicant generally should submit two complete copies or phonorecords of the work, typically in the best edition format. See id. § 202.20 (C) (1)(iii). Specifically, the applicant should submit two complete copies or phonorecords of the “best” edition that exists at the time the claim is filed. However, there are several exceptions to this rule, which are discussed in Sections 1509.1 through 1509.3. See id. § 202.20 (C) (2).

 

• For works published solely in a foreign country, the applicant should submit one complete copy or phonorecord of the work as first published in that country.

 

See id. § 202.20 (C) (1)(iv). For works first published in a foreign country and subsequently published in the United States, the applicant may submit one complete copy or phonorecord of the work as first published in the foreign country.

 

Alternatively, the applicant may submit one complete copy or phonorecord of the best edition published in the United States.

 

• A work that is first published simultaneously in the United States and a foreign country is considered published in the United States. Id. As such, two complete copies or phonorecords of the best edition are generally required for such works.

 

The terms “best edition,” “complete copy,” and “identifying material” are defined and discussed in Sections 1504, 1505, and 1506. Section 1507 discusses the appropriate format for the deposit, while Sections 1508.1 through 1508.7 discuss the procedure for submitting the deposit to the Office. Section 1508.8 discusses the procedure for requesting special relief from the deposit requirements.