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

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1606.7 Description of the Work

1606.7 Description of the Work

The applicant should not submit a copy or phonorecord of the work or any portion of the work with the application for preregistration. Instead, the applicant should provide a detailed description that reasonably identifies the work.

The description should be based on the information available at the time the application is submitted, and it should contain no more than 2,000 characters (including spaces and punctuation marks). At a minimum, the description should be sufficiently detailed and specific to satisfy a court in a copyright infringement action that the allegedly infringed work is, in fact, the work described in the application for preregistration. Merely reciting the title of the work or the type of work (e.g., “motion picture” or “sound recording”) is not sufficient.

Because the description will be made available to the public through the U.S. Copyright Office’s website, the applicant should not include any portion of the work in that description, such as the lyrics for a song or the lines of code for a computer program.

The specific requirements for describing a motion picture, sound recording, musical composition, book, computer program, videogame, or advertising or marketing photograph, are discussed in Sections 1606.7 (A) through 1606.7 (F).

See 37 C.F.R. § 202.16 (C) (6); see also Preregistration of Certain Unpublished Copyright Claims, 70 Fed. Reg. 42,286, 42,289, 42,290 (July 22, 2005).

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