723 Computer Programs That Generate Typeface, Typefont, or Barcodes
Typeface and mere variations of typographic ornamentation or lettering are not copyrightable. 37 C.F.R. § 202.1 (A), (E).
A computer program that generates bar codes or a particular typeface, typefont, or letterform may be registered if the program contains a sufficient amount of original authorship in the form of statements or instructions to a computer. For example, creating a scalable font output program that produces harmonious fonts consisting of hundreds of characters may require numerous decisions in drafting the instructions that drive a printer or other output device. If this expression contains a sufficient amount of original authorship, the work may be registered as a computer program. However, the registration would not cover any bar codes, typeface, typefont, letterform, or mere variations of typographic ornamentation or lettering that may be generated by the program. See Registrability of Computer Programs that Generate Typefaces, 57 Fed. Reg. 6201, 6202 (Feb. 21, 1992).
When asserting a claim in a computer program that generates typeface, typefont, letterform, or barcodes, the applicant should identify the author(s) that created the work. Specifically, the applicant should provide the name of the person(s) or organization(s) that created the source code for the program. The registration specialist may communicate with the applicant if it appears that the author merely assigned coordinates to a particular letterform and then used a third party program to render typeface or typefont from those coordinates (but did not create any of the source code for that program).
“Computer program” is the most appropriate term for registering a claim in this type of work. As discussed in Section 721.9 (F), 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). The U.S. Copyright Office will not accept an application that asserts a claim in the “entire work,” “entire computer program,” “entire text,” or the like, because these statements suggest that the applicant may be asserting a claim in both the copyrightable and uncopyrightable elements of the program. See 57 Fed. Reg. at 6202.
To register a computer program that generates typeface, typefont, letterform, or barcodes, the applicant must submit a portion of the source code for that program. If the applicant merely submits a representation of the characters generated by the program without providing any code, the registration specialist will communicate with the applicant. For a discussion of the deposit requirements for computer programs, see Chapter 1500, Section 1509.1 (F).