Copyright Compendium

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727.3 (D) Asserting a Claim to Copyright in a Database

727.3 (D) Asserting a Claim to Copyright in a Database


In all cases, the applicant should identify the copyrightable authorship that the applicant intends to register, and the applicant should assert a claim to copyright in that material. When completing an online application, this information should be provided on the Author Created screen in the field marked Other. When completing a paper application, this information should be provided in space 2 under the heading marked Nature of Authorship. For guidance on completing this portion of the application, see Chapter 600, Sections 618.4.


To register the authorship involved in selecting, coordinating, and/or arranging the material that appears in the database, the applicant may use any of the terms listed below, provided that they accurately describe the copyrightable authorship that appears in the deposit copy(ies). In most cases, the Office will accept combinations or variant forms of these terms, unless they are contradicted by information provided in the deposit copy(ies) or elsewhere in the registration materials.


• Compilation of data


• Compilation of database information


• Compilation of photographs


• Compilation of artwork


• Compilation and text


• Revised and updated compilation


The authorship that the applicant intends to register should be clearly identified in the application, and the claim to copyright in that authorship should be clearly stated. If the claim to copyright is unclear, the registration specialist may communicate with the applicant or may refuse registration. Examples of unclear terms include the following or any combination of the following:


• Data dictionary


• Data analysis


• Data insertion


• Data layout or format


• Data manipulation


• Database features


If the applicant asserts a claim in both the copyrightable and uncopyrightable features of the database, the registration specialist may annotate the application to indicate that the registration does not extend to the uncopyrightable features. If the applicant asserts a claim to copyright in any storage medium or any feature of the database that is uncopyrightable, the specialist may communicate with the applicant or may refuse registration if the claim appears to be based solely on those features. Examples of unacceptable terms include the following or any combination of the following:


• Database design


• Database interface


• Database structure


• Data system


If the applicant intends to register other copyrightable material that appears in the database, the applicant should describe the specific form of authorship that the author contributed to that material, such as “text,” “photographs,” “artwork,” or the like.


If the database contains an appreciable amount of previously published material, previously registered material, public domain material, or material that is not owned by the copyright claimant, the applicant should exclude that material from the claim by using the procedure described in Chapter 600, Section 621.8.