804.8 (A) (2) Weight of Contribution to the Work as a Whole
When all of the authors’ contributions (e.g., score, music, lyrics, script, book/libretto) have comparable weight and the application names all of the contributors as authors (e.g., composer, lyricist, playwright), the registration specialist will not communicate with the applicant to clarify the facts of authorship. If there is some indication in the registration materials that one or more authors did not contribute copyrightable authorship to the work as a whole (e.g., statements on the deposit or application), the specialist may communicate with the applicant to clarify the facts of authorship.
• Two authors of a musical play submit one application to register a musical play as a joint work. Author A wrote the libretto, and Author B wrote the lyrics and music. Both authors claim ownership in the musical play as a whole. The musical play will be registered as a joint work.
• Three authors of a hip-hop musical play wish to register their copyright claims as a joint work. The work contains a sixty-page script and fifteen songs. Author A wrote the script, Author B wrote thirteen of the fifteen songs, and Author C wrote two of the fifteen songs. The Office may communicate with the applicant to clarify whether Author C is, in fact, a joint author and owner of the musical play. If not, the songs by Author C must be registered separately.