Copyright Compendium

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1509.2 Deposit Requirements for Works of the Performing Arts

 

1509.2 Deposit Requirements for Works of the Performing Arts

 

The U.S. Copyright Office uses the term “work of the performing arts” to refer collectively to the following works of authorship:

 

• Musical Works, including any accompanying words.

 

• Sound Recordings.

 

• Dramatic Works, including any accompanying music.

 

• Choreographic works.

 

• Pantomimes.

 

• Audiovisual Works.

 

• Motion Pictures.

 

The Copyright Act does not define the term “work of the performing arts,” nor does it provide definitions for the majority of the works listed above. As a general matter, a work that was created to be performed “directly before an audience or indirectly by means of a device or process” is a work of the performing arts. 37 C.F.R. § 202.3 (B) (1)(ii).

 

To register a work that was first published in the United States on or after January 1, 1978, the applicant generally should submit two complete copy(ies) or phonorecord(s) of the best edition of that work. See id. § 202.20 (C) (1)(iii).

 

As discussed in Section 1504.2, the criteria used to identify the best edition of a work are listed in the Best Edition Statement, which is set forth in Appendix B to Part 202 of the Office’s regulations. It is also posted on the Office’s website in Best Edition of Published Copyrighted Works for the Collections of the Library of Congress (Circular 7b).

 

To register a work published in both electronic and hard copy formats, the applicant should submit one or two complete copy(ies) or phonorecord(s) of the work in the hard copy format. If the work was published solely in electronic format, the applicant may submit digital file(s) containing one or two complete copy(ies) or phonorecord(s) of the work, provided that the requirements set forth in Section 1507.2 have been met.

 

There are exceptions to these rules for certain types of performing art works. The deposit requirements for these types of works are discussed in Sections 1509.2 (A) through 1509.2 (F). The deposit requirements for performing arts works published in a foreign country are discussed in Sections 1509.2 (G) and 1509.2 (I).

 

Section 1509.2(J) contains a series of charts that summarize the deposit requirements for these types of works. For detailed information on the copyrightability and registration of works of the performing arts, see Chapter 800.