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

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1509.1 (B) Serials


1509.1 (B) Serials


A serial is a “work issued or intended to be issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely.” 37 C.F.R. § 202.3 (B) (1)(v). An “electronic serial” is a serial “published in the United States” that is “available only online.” 37 C.F.R. § 202.19 (B) (4).


Examples of works that may qualify as a serial include newspapers, magazines, newsletters, journals, and annuals. These types of works are typically published in successive issues and they are usually distributed on an established schedule. Each issue is published under the same continuing title, and they generally bear numerical or chronological designations that distinguish one issue from the next.


To register an issue that has not been published, the applicant should submit one complete copy of the work. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.20 (C) (1) (I).


If the issue was published in a physical format or published in both a physical and electronic format, the applicant should submit two complete copies of the work in the physical format. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.20 (B) (1).


If the issue was published solely in electronic format, the applicant should upload one complete copy of the work to the electronic registration system. Specifically, the applicant should upload one file containing all of the content appearing within that issue, and the content should be presented exactly as it appeared “in its published form.” 37 C.F.R. § 202.20 (B) (2)(iii) (B). If the applicant uploads separate files containing the cover, table of contents, or other disaggregated content, the registration specialist may communicate with the applicant or may refuse registration.


In some cases it may be possible to register a group of serial issues with one application and one filing fee. For information concerning the deposit requirements for this group registration option, see Chapter 1100, Section 1107.5.


See Simplifying Deposit Requirements for Certain Literary Works and Musical Compositions, 82 Fed. Reg. 38,859, 38,860 (Aug. 16, 2017).


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