512.2 Published Versions of the Same Work
If the versions have been published, the applicant generally should submit a separate application, a separate filing fee, and a separate set of deposit copies for each version.
For example, if the author published multiple editions of a textbook, the applicant should submit a separate application for each edition. In each case, the registration will cover the new material that the author contributed to each edition, including any copyrightable changes, revisions, additions, or other modifications that appear in the deposit copies for that edition. Likewise, if the applicant intends to register a published website that has been updated, modified, or revised from time to time, the applicant should prepare a separate application for each version of that site. In each case, the registration will cover the text, photographs, or other copyrightable content that appeared on the website on the date specified in the application and the deposit copies.
The Office will register multiple versions of a published work, provided that each version contains a sufficient amount of copyrightable authorship that does not appear in the other versions. When submitting multiple versions of a published work for registration, the applicant should notify the Office by providing the title for each version, and if possible, the case number / service request number that has been assigned to each claim. In addition, the applicant should confirm in writing that the version specified in the application contains copyrightable authorship that does not appear in other versions. When filing an online application this information should be provided in the Note to Copyright Office field. When filing a paper application this information should be provided in a cover letter. This improves the efficiency of the examination process and produces more consistent registration decisions.
The applicant–not the U.S. Copyright Office–should identify the specific version or versions that the applicant intends to register. In making this determination, it may be helpful to consider the following questions:
• Does one version contain all of the copyrightable material that appears in the other versions of the same work?
• Were the versions published on the same date or on different dates?
These topics are discussed in Sections 512.2 (A) through 512.2 (C) below.