802.7 Collective Musical Works
A collective musical work is a work that contains “a number of contributions” that constitute “separate and independent works in themselves” that have been “assembled into a collective whole” “in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship.” 17 U.S.C. § 101 (definitions of “collective work” and “compilation”). Examples of collective musical works include the following types of works:
• A quarterly journal of contemporary art songs.
• A hymnal comprised of several single contributions from various hymn composers.
• A folio of selected Rodgers and Hammerstein songs.
Collective musical works potentially contain two types of copyrightable authorship: (I) the compilation authorship involved in selecting, coordinating, and/or arranging a number of separate and independent musical works and assembling them into the collective whole; and (ii) the authorship involved in creating the music and/or lyrics for the individual musical works.
A collective work may be registered together with the individual musical works contained therein, provided that the collective work and the individual works are owned by the same party, and provided that the individual works have not been previously published or previously registered. In no case may the claimant register a musical work that is in the public domain. If the owner of the individual musical works does not own the copyright in the collective work as a whole, then each musical work must be registered separately as an individual contribution to a collective work.
For general information on collective works, see Chapter 500, Section 509.