Copyright Compendium

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621 Limitation of Claim

621 Limitation of Claim


This Section discusses the U.S. Copyright Office’s practices and procedures for limiting the scope of a claim to copyright. A claim should be limited if the work contains an appreciable amount of material that was previously published, material that was previously registered, material that is in the public domain, and/or material that is owned by an individual or legal entity other than the claimant who is named in the application.


Derivative works almost always contain unclaimable material because, by definition, they are based on, or incorporate, one or more preexisting works. Likewise, compilations, including collective works, usually contain unclaimable material because they are often comprised of previously published, previously registered, public domain material, or material that is owned by a third party. To register a derivative work, a compilation, a collective work, or any other type of work that contains an appreciable amount of unclaimable material, the applicant should identify and exclude that material in the application using the procedure described in Section 621.8 below.

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