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1509.1 (F) (6) Computer Screen Displays

 

1509.1 (F) (6) Computer Screen Displays

 

As a general rule, a computer program and the screen displays generated by that program are considered the same work, because in most cases the screen displays are created by the program code, together with any internal image library. If the copyright in the program and the screen displays are owned by the same claimant, the program and any related screen displays may be registered with the same application. See Chapter 700, Section 721.10.

 

When an applicant expressly asserts a claim in a computer program, the registration covers the copyrightable expression in the program code and any copyrightable screen displays that may be generated by that code, even if the applicant does not mention “screen displays” in the application and does not submit a copy of the screen displays with the program code. By contrast, if an applicant states “screen displays” in the application, the registration will not cover the computer program unless the applicant also asserts a claim in the “computer program” and submits an appropriate deposit for the work. See Registration Decision; Registration and Deposit of Computer Screen Displays, 53 Fed. Reg. 21,817, 21,819-20 (June 10, 1988).

 

When screen displays are specifically claimed in the application for registration, the applicant must submit a representative sampling of those screen displays. When registering derivative screen displays, the sampling must contain a sufficient amount of new material. For instance, the applicant may submit a visual reproduction of the screen displays, such as printouts, photographs, or drawings, provided that the reproductions are no smaller than three by three inches and no larger than nine by twelve inches. 37 C.F.R. § 202.20 (C) (2)(vii) (C) (1). Alternatively, the applicant may submit a CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, and/or a user manual for the computer program, provided that it contains legible reproductions of the screen displays. (In this respect, the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition supersedes the Office’s policy statement concerning the registration and deposit of screen displays. See 54 Fed. Reg. 13,173, 13,177 (Mar. 31, 1989).)

 

If the screen displays primarily contain audiovisual material, the applicant should submit that material on a ¬Ω inch VHS format videotape or request special relief. However, if the screen displays simply demonstrate the functions of the computer program, the applicant should submit printouts, photographs, or drawings that meet the size requirements discussed above. 37 C.F.R. § 202.20 (C) (2)(vii) (C) (2).

 

NOTE: If the applicant is unable to submit identifying material using any of these options, the applicant may ask for special relief from the deposit requirements. For information concerning this procedure, see Section 1508.8. In the alternative, the applicant may submit two complete copies of the work as published.