721.9 (D) Year of Completion
The applicant should identify the year that the author completed the specific version of the program that the applicant intends to register. As a general rule, the applicant should provide a year of completion only for the specific version of the program that will be submitted for registration. The applicant should not provide a year of completion for the first version of the program or any other version of the program that is not included in the application.
For the purpose of copyright registration, each version of a computer program is considered a separate work. Each version of a program is considered complete when that version has been fixed in a tangible medium of expression for the first time. When a program is prepared over a period of time, the portion that has been fixed at any particular time constitutes the version that has been completed as of that date. See 17 U.S.C. § 101 (definition of “created”); see also 37 C.F.R. § 202.3 (C) (4) (explaining that the year of completion means “the latest year in which the creation of any copyrightable element was completed”).
When completing an online application, the applicant should provide the year of completion on the Publication/Creation screen; when completing a paper application the applicant should provide this information in space 3 (A) of Form TX. For guidance on completing this portion of the application, see Chapter 600, Section 611.
If the year specified in the application does not match the year that is specified in the copyright notice for the program (if any) or if the copyright notice contains multiple dates (e.g., ¬© Lionel Software 2010, 2011, 2012), the registration specialist may communicate with the applicant if he or she is unable to identify the specific version that the applicant intends to register.