917.2 (A) Distinguishing Art Reproductions from the Source Work and Identifying Material
To register a reproduction of a work of art, the applicant should fully describe the new authorship that the author contributed to the source work. As a general rule, the terms “2-D artwork” or “reproduction of work of art” may be used to describe the authorship involved in recasting, transforming, or adapting the source work. When completing an online application the applicant should provide this information in the Author Created field. When completing a paper application, the applicant should provide this information in the Nature of Authorship space. In addition, applicants are strongly encouraged to provide a clear description of the new authorship that the author contributed to the reproduction using specific terms that distinguish the new authorship from the source work. This information may be provided in the Note to Copyright Office field or in a cover letter. Doing so may avoid the need for correspondence that could delay the examination of the application.
The applicant should not refer to the authorship in the source work that has been recast, transformed, or adapted by the author of the print or reproduction. Likewise, the applicant should not refer to the type of identifying material that the applicant intends to submit to the Office. For example, if the applicant intends to register a lithographic reproduction of a preexisting painting, the applicant should clearly describe the new artwork that the author contributed to that reproduction. The author should not refer to the preexisting painting that is depicted in the lithograph. If the applicant intends to submit a photograph of the lithograph as the identifying material for the claim, the applicant should not refer to the reproduction as a “photograph.” If the applicant states “photograph” the registration specialist may assume that the applicant intends to register the authorship involved in taking the photograph of the lithograph, rather than the authorship involved in creating the reproduction of the preexisting painting.