1509.1 (F) Computer Programs
To register a computer program, the applicant should submit “one copy of identifying portions” for the specific version of the program that the applicant intends to register. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.20 (C) (2)(vii).
Specifically, the applicant should submit an identifying portion of the source code for the particular version of the program that the applicant intends to register, regardless of whether the program is published or unpublished, and regardless of whether the program is fixed in a CD-ROM, semiconductor chip, a magnetic tape or disk, or any other storage media. These issues are discussed in Sections 1509.1 (F) (1) through 1509.1 (F) (5) below.
As discussed below, the U.S. Copyright Office considers source code to be the best representation of the copyrightable authorship in a computer program. The Office generally discourages applicants from submitting object code, because it cannot be examined for copyrightable authorship. That said, the Office will accept a deposit containing object code if certain requirements have been met. For information concerning this option, see Section 1509.1 (F) (4) (B).
In some cases the applicant may be required to submit additional material depending on the following factors:
• Whether the program is fixed in a CD-ROM.
• Whether the applicant expressly asserted a claim in the screen displays generated by the program.
• Whether the applicant intends to register the user manual or other documentation for the program.
These topics are discussed in Sections 1509.1 (F) (6) through 1509.1 (F) (7) below.