Following public suggestion, the U.S. Copyright Office has established new rules allowing for group registration of unpublished works. Whereas previously the number of unpublished works you could register was limited only by what you could upload to the system in an hour, the new system, available only via the online application (and with the deposits being uploaded through the online system), will now allow for a group of up to 10 works to be registered for copyright concurrently for a single fee (currently $55, but sources say the fee may increase to $85).
Now, for those of you who were used to registering hundreds of works as an “unpublished collection,” this rule change is a bummer. You will now have to submit 10 applications at $55 (soon to be $85) a pop, vs. registering 100, or even more, for a mere $55. From the Copyright Office’s perspective, the smaller-sized applications will be easier for them to examine and process.
Plus, under the previous system, you only had to give the title of the collection and not any titles of the individual works in that collection. That made it impossible to accurately search the Copyright Office records online. The rule change will make it easier to do that, since now the contents of the group registration will have to be separately listed. Although on behalf of my clients I’m not 100% stoked about the new system, I do agree that individual works listed in collections need to be listed and searchable.
Like in the old system, works in the group still must have been created by the same author(s) with those same subjects being the claimant(s) for each work. For groups, all joint authors must appear on each work’s registration. The copyright claim must be the same in every work submitted, with each work to be registered in the same administrative class.
*Photographers: Photographers may still register up to 750 photos under one application and filing fee using the group registration option. This new rule does not replace the existent registration procedure for photographers.
If you have any questions regarding this new registration option, then feel free to reach out to us!