621.5 Previously Registered Material
If the applicants intends to register a work that contains an appreciable amount of copyrightable material that has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, the previously registered material should be excluded from the claim using the procedure described in Section 621.8 (F).
Likewise, if the work contains an appreciable amount of copyrightable material that has been submitted for registration, but has not been registered yet, the previously submitted material should be identified on the application as excluded material. Once the previously submitted material has been registered, the material is then considered unclaimable material.
As a general rule, the Office will issue only one registration for each version of a particular work, because multiple registrations for the same work would confuse the public record. 37 C.F.R § 202.3 (B) (11). In most cases, this means that the applicant should disclaim any portion of the work that has been registered before.
NOTE: There are three exceptions to this rule, which are discussed in Section 619.11 and Chapter 500, Sections 510.1 through 510.3.
Before filing an application with the Office, the applicant should determine whether the work contains previously registered material or material contained in the deposit copy(ies) for a previously or concurrently filed application. The date of creation and the date of publication for the work that the applicant intends to register are irrelevant to this determination. In other words, previously registered material or material submitted with a previously or concurrently filed application should be disclaimed, regardless of whether that material was created before or simultaneously with the work that the applicant intends to register. It should be disclaimed regardless of whether that material was registered before or after the date of creation for the work that the applicant intends to register. Likewise, it should be disclaimed regardless of whether that material was registered before or after the date of publication for the work that the applicant intends to register.
This rule applies only to copyright registrations issued by the Office, including any registration made under Section 408 of the Copyright Act, a renewal registration made under Section 304 of the Copyright Act, or a registration or renewal registration made under Title 17 of the United States Code as it existed before January 1, 1978. It does not apply to preregistrations issued by the Office. Nor does it apply to material that has been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a foreign intellectual property office, or any other governmental or nongovernmental entity.
• Bithia Adu submits an application to register the first draft of her short story. The following week she submits an application to register her second draft. In the Material Excluded field the applicant states “first draft has been submitted for registration but has not been registered yet;” in the New Material Included field the applicant states “additional text” to limit the claim to the new authorship that appears in the second draft. The registration specialist will register the claim.
• Discovery Studios submits an application using Form PA to register season two of the television series Gold Diggers. The deposit copy is a box set containing all of the episodes from this season, as well as some bonus footage. In space 6 (A) the applicant states “the episodes from this season have been registered before;” in space 6 (B) the applicant states “new motion picture” to limit the claim to the new authorship that appears in the bonus footage. The registration specialist will register the claim.