Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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713 Book Jackets


713 Book Jackets


Book jackets often contain several types of authorship that is separate from the book itself, such as text, illustrations, and photographs. If text is the predominant form of authorship in the jacket, the work may be registered as a nondramatic literary work. If the predominant form of authorship consists of artwork, illustrations, or photographs, the jacket may be registered as a work of the visual arts. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.3 (B) (1) (I), (iii).


When asserting a claim in a book jacket, the applicant should clearly indicate that the claim extends to the copyrightable material that appears on the jacket. Specifically, the claim should be limited to the text, artwork, and/or photographs that appear on the jacket, the applicant should provide the name of the author who created that material, and the applicant should provide the name of the claimant who owns the copyright in that material. The Literary Division may accept a claim in “text” if the jacket contains a sufficient amount of written expression, or a claim in “artwork” and/or “photograph(s)” if the jacket contains a sufficient amount of pictorial or graphic expression. When completing an online application, this 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 618.4 and 621.8.


If the claim in the book jacket is based solely on the title of the work, the registration specialist will refuse to register the claim. If the claim is based solely on the arrangement, spacing, juxtaposition, and layout of copyrightable or uncopyrightable elements, the registration specialist may communicate with the applicant or may refuse to register the claim if the jacket merely contains a standard arrangement that is not sufficiently creative to support a compilation claim. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.1 (A); Chapter 300, Section 313.3 (E).


A book and a book jacket may be registered with the same application if the works can be physically separated from each other, and if the copyright in both works is owned by the same claimant. For more information concerning this option, see Chapter 1100, Section 1103.


In the alternative, the applicant may submit separate applications for the book and the jacket. If the applicant submits a separate application for a jacket that has been published, the Office will retain the jacket “for the longest period considered practicable and desirable by the Register of Copyrights and the Librarian of Congress.” 17 U.S.C. § 704 (D). If the applicant submits an application to register a book that has been published but does not assert a separate claim in the jacket, the Library of Congress may add the book to its collection, but the jacket will be discarded. For a discussion of the deposit requirements for book jackets, see Chapter 1500, Section 1509.1 (D).


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