1511.1 What Is the Best Edition for Purposes of Mandatory Deposit?
The “best edition” for purposes of mandatory deposit is defined as “the edition, published in the United States at any time before the date of deposit, that the Library of Congress determines to be most suitable for its purposes.” 17 U.S.C. § 101; 37 C.F.R. § 202.19 (B) (1) (I).
The criteria used to identify the best edition for a particular work are listed in the Best Edition Statement, which is set forth in Appendix B to Part 202 of the Office’s regulations. 37 C.F.R. pt. 202, app. B. 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).
The Best Edition Statement contains a hierarchical list of formats that the Library prefers. Generally, if the work was published in two or more editions, the edition that is the highest quality is considered to be the “best” edition. “In judging quality, the Library of Congress will adhere to the criteria set forth [in the Best Edition Statement] in all but exceptional cases.” 37 C.F.R. pt. 202, app. B.
If the Best Edition Statement does not provide specific criteria for selecting the best edition of the work, the edition that “in the judgment of the Library of Congress, represents the highest quality for its purposes shall be considered the ‘best edition.'” 37 C.F.R. § 202.19 (B) (1)(iii). If the copyright owner or owner of exclusive rights is uncertain as to whether a particular published edition constitutes the best edition, that party should contact the Office’s Copyright Acquisitions Division at (202) 707-7125. 37 C.F.R. § 202.19 (B) (1)(iii) (B).