Copyright Compendium

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1506 Identifying Material

 

1506 Identifying Material

 

Identifying material (“ID material”) is material that adequately represents the authorship claimed in an unpublished or published work. The U.S. Copyright Office has the authority to accept identifying material in lieu of a complete copy or phonorecord in cases where the copies or phonorecords would be too “bulky, unwieldy, easily broken, or otherwise impractical [to serve] as records identifying the work registered.” H.R. REP. NO. 94– “1476, at 154 (1976), reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5659, 5770.

 

Examples:

 

• To register a sculpture, the applicant may submit identifying material consisting of photographs taken at every angle of the sculpture, rather than submitting the actual sculpture. See 37 C.F.R. §§ 202.20 (C) (2)(xi) (A) (1), 202.21 (B).

 

• To register a copyrightable design that has been applied to the back of a chair or other useful article, the applicant should submit drawings or photographs of the design as it appears on the chair rather than the actual piece of furniture. See 37 C.F.R. §§ 202.20 (C) (2)(xi) (B) (2), 202.21 (A).

 

• To register a computer program, the applicant generally may submit identifying material containing a selection of the source code from the program. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.20 (C) (2)(vii).

 

Submitting identifying material may be mandatory or permissive. In some cases, the applicant must submit identifying material in lieu of copies or phonorecords of the actual work, while in other cases the applicant has the option of submitting identifying material or actual copies or phonorecords of the work. Identifying material must be visually perceptible to the naked eye, meaning that the Office’s staff should not have to use a machine or device to examine the work. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.21 (A).

 

The Register also may require submission of identifying material by regulation, in addition to the best edition. 17 U.S.C. § 408 (B).

 

The specific type of identifying material that should be submitted varies depending on the type of work. The cases where identifying material is an acceptable substitute for copies or phonorecords of the actual work are described in the following sections:

 

Literary Works

 

• Computer programs: Section 1509.1 (F). See 37 C.F.R. § 202.20 (C) (2)(vii).

 

• Databases: Sections 1509.1 (G) (2) and 1509.1 (G) (3). See id. § 202.20 (C) (2)(vii) (D).

 

• Compilations or other types of literary works fixed or published solely in machine- readable copies (other than a CD-ROM) from which the work cannot ordinarily be perceived except with the aid of a machine or device. See id. § 202.20 (C) (2)(vii), (viii) (E).

 

• GATT Literary Works: Section 1509.1(M). See id. § 202.12 (C) (3).

 

Works of the Performing Arts

 

• Musical works published in motion pictures: Section 1509.2 (A) (2) (D). See id. § 202.20 (C) (2)(xii).

 

• Audiovisual works that have not been fixed on CD-ROM: Section 1509.2 (E) (2). See id. § 202.20 (C) (2)(viii) (B).

 

• Unpublished motion pictures: Section 1509.2 (F) (2). See id. § 202.20 (C) (2)(ii).

 

• Audiovisual works, musical compositions, or sound recordings fixed or published solely in machine-readable copies (other than a CD-ROM) from which the work cannot ordinarily be perceived except with the aid of a machine or device. See id. § 202.20 (C) (2)(viii) (B)- (D).

 

• GATT Works of the Performing Arts: Section 1509.2 (I). See id. § 202.12 (C) (3).

 

Visual Art Works

 

• Unpublished pictorial or graphic works: Section 1509.3 (A) (1). See id. § 202.20 (C) (2)(iv).

 

• Pictorial or graphic works published in a limited edition: Section 1509.3 (A) (3). See id.

 

• Pictorial or graphic works reproduced in sheet-like material: Section 1509.3 (A) (4). See id. § 202.20 (C) (2)(x).

 

• Prints, labels, and other advertising matter that is inseparable from a three- dimensional object: Section 1509.3 (A) (9). See id. § 202.20 (C) (2)(xi) (A) (2), (C) (2)(xi) (B) (2).

 

• Pictorial or graphic works reproduced on three-dimensional containers or holders: Section 1509.3 (A) (10). See id. § 202.20 (C) (2)(xi) (B) (4).

 

• Three-dimensional visual arts works: Section 1509.3 (B). See id. § 202.20 (C) (2)(xi) (A) (1).

 

• Two- or three-dimensional holograms. See id. § 202.20 (C) (2)(iii).

 

• Architectural works: Section 1509.3 (D). See id. § 202.20 (C) (2)(xviii).

 

• Pictorial or graphic works fixed or published solely in machine-readable copies (other than a CD-ROM) from which the work cannot ordinarily be perceived except with the aid of a machine or device. See id. § 202.20 (C) (2)(viii) (A).

 

• GATT Visual Arts Works: Section 1509.3 (E) (3). See id. § 202.12 (C) (3).

 

Oversized Deposits

 

• Any work that is more than ninety-six inches in any dimension. See id. § 202.20 (C) (2)(xiii).