501 What This Chapter Covers
This Chapter provides guidance on how to identify the work that the applicant intends to register with the U.S. Copyright Office. It explains how to identify the copyrightable authorship that can be submitted for registration, and how to describe the claim to copyright in that authorship, particularly if the work contains multiple forms of authorship, if it was created by multiple authors, if the authorship is owned by multiple copyright owners, or if the applicant intends to register only a portion of the authorship that appears in the work. In addition, this Chapter assists copyright owners, courts, and the general public in understanding the scope of a registered copyright claim.
When applying to register a work of authorship, it is crucial to correctly identify the work in which copyright is claimed, including the type of work, the author(s) who created that work, and the copyright owner who is entitled to claim copyright in that work. This Chapter provides a general overview of certain forms of authorship and ownership that are recognized under the copyright law, including joint works, works made for hire, derivative works, compilations, and collective works.
For a discussion of the Office’s practices and procedures for registering a claim to copyright, see the following chapters:
• For a general overview of the registration process, see Chapter 200.
• For guidance in determining who may file an application and who may be named as the copyright claimant, see Chapter 400.
• For a general overview of the applications that may be used to register a copyright claim, see Chapter 1400.
• For information on how to complete an application, see Chapter 600.
• For information regarding the options for registering multiple works with one application, see Chapter 1100.
• For information concerning the deposit requirements, see Chapter 1500.
• For information concerning the Copyright Office’s practices and procedures for evaluating copyrightable authorship, see Chapter 300. For guidance concerning the practices and procedures relating to specific types of works, see the following chapters:
• For a discussion of literary works, see Chapter 700.
• For a discussion of works of the performing arts, see Chapter 800.
• For a discussion of visual art works, see Chapter 900.
• For a discussion of websites and website content, see Chapter 1000.
• For a discussion of mask works and vessel designs, see Chapters 1200 and 1300.