613.5 Identifying the Authors of a Joint Work
A joint work is a work “prepared by two or more authors with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole.” 17 U.S.C. § 101. If the work submitted for registration is a joint work the applicant should provide the name of each author who contributed copyrightable authorship to the work that the applicant intends to register. If the applicant fails to name all the joint authors who are named in the deposit copy(ies), the registration specialist will communicate with the applicant.
• An application is submitted for a children’s book containing equal amounts of text and artwork on each page. The applicant names John Kinnadee as the author of “text” and George Sand as the author of “2-dimensional artwork.” A statement on the deposit copies reads “Text by John Kinnadee; Illustrations by George Sands” and the copyright notice reads “Text ¬© John Kinnadee; Illustrations ¬© George Sands.” The statements given in the application and the content of the work indicate that this may be a joint work. The registration specialist will register the claim.
• An application for a scientific article names Dr. Pankaj Patel, Dr. Shilpa Shah, and Dr. Aziz Haniff as co-authors of the “text.” A statement on the deposit copy reads “By Drs. Patel, Shah, and Haniff,” which suggests that this may be a joint work. The registration specialist will register the claim.
• An application for an essay names Darryl Oshey and Ruben Israel as co-authors of the work, but a statement on the deposit copy reads “By D. Oshey, R. Israel, and C. Cabbage.” The registration specialist will communicate with the applicant. The essay appears to be a joint work, but the applicant failed to identify all of the authors who are named on the deposit copy.
For a general discussion of joint works, see Chapter 500, Section 505.