Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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807.8 (B) The Author Created Field and the Nature of Authorship Space

807.8 (B) The Author Created Field and the Nature of Authorship Space

When completing an online application, the applicant should describe the authorship that will be submitted for registration, either by checking one or more of the box(es) in the Author Created field or by providing an appropriate statement in the box marked “Other.” When completing a paper application, the applicant should provide this information in the Nature of Authorship space. The applicant should only describe authorship that was created by the author(s) named in the application, and is contained in the deposit copy(ies).

The boxes in the Author Created field are typically used to describe the authorship in a motion picture. Therefore, the applicant should consider using the box marked Other to describe the authorship in an audiovisual work. As a general rule, the Office will accept the following statements, provided that they accurately describe the copyrightable authorship being claimed:

• Audiovisual material.

• Computer program.

• Computer program including screen displays.

• Text and video clips in a website.

• Audiovisual material and computer program.

• Text of user’s manual.

In describing the authorship, the applicant should avoid using unclear, non-specific terms such as “website” or “computer app.” The applicant should not refer to uncopyrightable or unregistrable aspects of the work, such as “format” or “layout.” When registering a computer program, the applicant should not refer to the program’s functions, features, physical form, hardware, or algorithms. See Chapter 700, Section 721.9(J). The applicant also should avoid using the term “sound recording” to describe the sounds or soundtrack of an audiovisual work. See Sections 807.2 (B) and 807.3 (E) (2).

NOTE: A claim in a computer program generally covers any related screen displays. A claim in HTML or other formatting code, however, does not extend to the screen displays. See Chapter 1000, Section 1006.1 (A).Thus, if the applicant intends to register both the formatting code and the screen displays, the applicant must include the terms “computer program” and “audiovisual material” in the authorship statement.

For additional guidance in completing this portion of the application, see Chapter 600, Section 618. For a discussion of the practices and procedures for registering computer screen displays, see Chapter 700, Section 721.10.

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