1504.2 Works Subject to the Best Edition Requirement
As discussed in Section 1503.1, the applicant generally should submit two complete copies or phonorecords of the best edition of the work if the work was first published in the United States on or after January 1, 1978. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.20 (C) (1)(iii). If the work was first published in a foreign country and then subsequently published in the United States, the applicant may submit one complete copy of the foreign edition, or alternatively, the applicant may submit one complete copy of the best edition published in this country. See id. § 202.20 (C) (1)(iv). If a work was published in the United States in both a physical format and an electronic format, the applicant should submit the best edition of the work in the physical format. See id. § 202.20 (B) (1).
To identify the “best” edition of the work, applicants should focus solely on the edition(s) or format(s) that actually exist as of the date that the claim is filed. For example, if a novel was published in paperback form on the date the claim was filed, the applicant should submit the work in that format, even if the work is subsequently published in another format that the Library may prefer.
To be clear, applicants do not need to create a new edition of a work in order to satisfy the best edition requirement. For example, if a motion picture was published solely on DVD as of the date that the claim was filed, the applicant may submit the work in that format; there is no need to produce another edition solely for the purpose of seeking a registration.
If the applicant is unable to submit a complete copy or phonorecord of the best edition, the applicant may ask for special relief from the deposit requirements. For information concerning this procedure, see Section 1508.8.