727.3 Application Tips for Databases
A single-file or multi-file database may be registered as a literary work if the predominant form of authorship in the work consists of text. A database may be registered as a work of the visual arts if the predominant form of authorship consists of photographs or other forms of pictorial authorship.
As a general rule, an applicant may register a specific version of a database by submitting an online application. However, if the applicant intends to register a database that predominantly consists of photographs, the applicant must contact the Visual Arts Division at (202) 707-8202 to coordinate the filing and to obtain proper guidance concerning the information that should be included in the online application and the proper method for submitting the deposit copies. Applicants will be permitted to file an online application for a photographic database only if they obtain authorization from the Visual Arts Division and follow the instructions from the Division. See 37 C.F.R. §§ 202.3 (B) (5)(ii) (A), 202.20 (C) (2)(vii) (D) (8); see also Registration of Claims to Copyright, 76 Fed. Reg. 4072, 4075 (Jan. 24, 2011), Group Registration of Photographs, 81 Fed. Reg. 86,643, 86,652 (Dec. 15, 2016).
In the alternative, an applicant may register a specific version of a database with a paper application. The applicant should use the form that is most appropriate for the subject matter of the works that appear in the database. See 76 Fed. Reg. at 4074. For example, if the works in the database consist primarily of words, numbers, or other verbal or numerical symbols or indicia, the applicant should use Form TX. If the works consist predominantly of photographs, the applicant should use Form VA. Id.
NOTE: The online application may be used to register a group of updates or revisions for a database that predominantly consists of photographs, but it cannot be used for updates or revisions for any other type of database. For a discussion of the application requirements for this group registration option, see Chapter 1100, Section 1112.5.