712.2 What Is a Serial?
A serial is a work that is issued or intended to be issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designations that are intended to be continued indefinitely. 37 C.F.R. § 202.3 (B) (1)(v). Examples include periodicals (including newspapers); annuals; and the journals and proceedings of societies, and other similar works.
Examples of works that do not fall within this category include episodes of a television series, a series of online videos, a collection of musical works, a group of manuscripts, an assortment of poetry, or a set of advertising copies.
“Periodicals” are considered “collective works” for purposes of registration, because they contain “a number of contributions, constituting separate and independent works in themselves, [that] are assembled into a collective whole.” 37 C.F.R. § 202.4 (B) (3); 17
U.S.C. § 101 (definition of “collective work”).
Most serials are – but do not have to be – collective works to qualify for registration. For example, a newsletter that contains a single article and a single photograph would not be considered a collective work, because it does not contain sufficient contributions.
Nevertheless, it could still be registered as a “serial” if the requirements set forth in
Section 712.2 (B) have been met.