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708 Joint Works

708 Joint Works


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. A joint work may be registered as a nondramatic literary work if it contains a sufficient amount of literary expression. Examples of works that may satisfy this requirement include essays, articles, textbooks, reference works, children’s books, graphic novels, or any other work that may be jointly prepared by two or more authors.


Ordinarily, each author owns the copyright in the authorship that he or she contributed to the work. In the case of a joint work, all of the authors jointly own the copyright in each other’s contributions and each author owns an undivided interest in the copyright for the work as a whole. See 17 U.S.C. § 201 (A).


When asserting a claim in a joint work, the applicant should provide the name of each author who contributed copyrightable authorship to the work and should provide specific authorship statements for each author. When completing an online application, the authorship information should be provided in the Author Created field, and if applicable, also in the New Material Included field. When completing a paper application on Form TX, this information should be provided in space 2, and if applicable, also in space 6 (B). For guidance on completing these portions of the application, see Chapter 600, Sections 618 and 621. In addition, the applicant should provide the name of the claimant who owns the copyright in that material. For guidance on completing this portion of the application, see Chapter 600, Section 619.


For a general discussion of joint works, see Chapter 500, Section 505.

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