Copyright Compendium

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313.4 (F) Mere Listing of Ingredients or Contents


313.4 (F) Mere Listing of Ingredients or Contents

A mere listing of ingredients or contents is not copyrightable and cannot be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. 37 C.F.R. § 202.1 (A).




• A list of ingredients for a recipe.


• A list of components for a formula, compound, prescription, or the like.


• A list of musical tracks contained in a compact disc.


• A product label that merely lists the ingredients for the product, merely describes the product, or merely describes the contents of the product packaging.


The Office may register a work that explains how to perform a particular activity, such as a cookbook or user manual, provided that the work contains a sufficient amount of text, photographs, artwork, or other copyrightable expression. However, the registration does not extend to any list of ingredients or contents that may be included in the work. See Publications International v. Meredith Corp., 88 F.3d 473, 480 (7th Cir. 1996) (“We do not view the functional listing of ingredients as original within the meaning of the Copyright Act.”); see also Policy Decision on Copyrightability of Digitized Typefaces, 53 Fed. Reg. 38,110, 38,112 (Sept. 29, 1988) (explaining that “the explanation and illustration of recipes is copyrightable even though the end result – ” the food product – ” is not”).


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