Group Registration for Unpublished Works

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From The Copyright Alliance:

Last week, the U.S. Copyright Office launched a new group registration option for unpublished works. Many creators previously used the “unpublished collection” option to register these unpublished works. If you are one of those creators, pay close attention because this new group registration option has replaced the unpublished collection registration option.

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On March 15, the U.S. Copyright Office introduced the new group registration, allowing a copyright owner to register up to 10 unpublished works in one application, for a single fee. In the case of sound recordings, the Office will allow up to 10 sound recordings to be registered along with the 10 underlying works—i.e., musical compositions, literary works, or dramatic works—for a total of twenty works in one application. So for example, if you’re a singer/songwriter who wants to register 10 of your songs, you can register all 10 of the sound recordings along with the 10 underlying musical compositions (lyrics, arrangement, etc.). If you’re a literary author, you can register your 10 novels along with the 10 audio book recordings of those novels. This assumes, of course, that all of these works are unpublished at the time the group registration application is submitted.

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To be eligible to use this new group registration option, there are a few requirements that must be met:

1. All the works registered using this group registration must have the same creator (or creators).

2. The creator(s) must also be named as the copyright “claimant.”

3. All the works registered must be the same type of work (literary works, visual works, sound recordings, performing arts works, or audiovisual works). Note that there’s a special exception (discussed above) that allows sound recordings to be registered along with literary works, musical works, or dramatic works, so long as those works are embodied in the accompanying sound recordings.

4. All of the works must be “unpublished.” Whether a work is considered “published” or “unpublished” can be a tricky. Click here for more information about how to determine whether your works are “unpublished” and qualify for this group registration.

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It’s a good idea to register your works with the Copyright Office as early as possible—i.e., before they are ever published or made available to others—in order to maximize the benefits of registration. For example, if you wait too long and your unpublished work is infringed before you’ve registered it, that work becomes ineligible for statutory damages or attorney’s fees in court.

Link to the rest at The Copyright Alliance

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