Group Registration of Sound Recordings on an Album (GRAM)

What can be registered with this application?

This application may be used to register a group of sound recordings that were published on the same album. It may also be used to register photos, artwork, or liner notes that were first published with the album.

Important: This application cannot be used register a musical work (either with or without lyrics). Likewise, it cannot be used to register any audiovisual works that may be included on the album, such as videos.

What’s the difference between a “musical work” and a “sound recording”?

A musical work – such as a song with music and lyrics – and a particular recording of that song are two separate works.

A musical work is a work that consists of music – including melody, rhythm, and/or harmony – and any accompanying lyrics.

Examples:

  • A song with music and lyrics
  • An instrumental composition with music but no lyrics

A sound recording is a recording of a particular performance of a musical work.

For example, the song “Respect” and a recording of Aretha Franklin performing the song “Respect” are two distinct works. The music and lyrics is a musical work. A recording of a person performing this song is a sound recording.

Examples:

This is a musical work:

  • “Respect” (music and lyrics by Otis Redding)

These are sound recordings:

  • “Respect” performed by Otis Redding
  • “Respect” performed by Aretha Franklin
  • “Respect” performed by The Supremes and The Temptations

For more information about the differences between a musical work and a sound recording, read Circular 56a.

What is an album?

As mentioned above, this application may be used to register a group of works that were published on the same album.

An “album” is defined as “a single physical or electronic unit of distribution containing at least two musical works that are embodied in a phonorecord.” For examples of what may qualify as an “album,” see Group Registration of Works on an Album (Circular 58).

Eligibility Requirements

You may register a group of works with this application, if the following conditions have been met.

  • You must submit at least 2 – but no more than 20 – sound recordings.
  • Note: If you submit more than 20 sound recordings, the Office may remove those works from your application or may refuse to register the entire claim.
  • All of the works being registered must be first published on the same album on the same date.
  • Note: There is a limited exception to this rule for sound recordings that were previously published as an individual work (such as a single) before they were published on the album. Read more.
  • All of the works must be first published in the same country.
  • You must provide the date and nation of first publication for each work being registered.
  • You must provide the title for the album, and a title and track number for each sound recording being registered. (If you submit any photos, artwork, and/or liner notes, the system will automatically add a “generic” title for those works.)
  • All of the works must be created by the same author, or all of the works must have a common author. Read more.
  • The works may be registered as works made for hire if they are identified in the application as such.
  • Note: The Copyright Office has developed a questionnaire that may be useful in determining whether a particular work qualifies as a “work made for hire.” To complete the questionnaire and to read more information about this topic, read Circular 30.
  • Finally, the copyright claimant or co-claimants for all of the works must be the same person(s) or the same organization. Read more.

Author Information

Generally, sound recordings are created by performers and/or producers. In other words, the author of a sound recording may be the performer featured in the recording, and/or the producer who captured, manipulated, and/or edited the sounds that appear in the final recording.

Photographs, artwork, and liner notes are generally created by photographers, artists, and writers. The author of a photograph is the person who shoots the photo. The author of a piece of artwork is the person who sketches or draws the image. And the author of liner notes is the person who writes the text.

If any of the works were created as works made for hire, then the employer or the party that ordered or commissioned that work is considered the author, rather than the individual who actually created the sound recording, photo, artwork, or liner notes.

If the works were created by one author, you should identify that author in the application. If the works were created by two or more co-authors, you should identify all of the co-authors in the application.

As mentioned above, all of the works must be created by the same author, or all of the works must have a common author.

Note: All of the other registration requirements must also be met, including the requirement that the claimant(s) for each work must be the same person or organization. Read more.

Works Created by the Same Author

You may use this application if all of the works were created by the same person, as shown below:

Example:

Works Author
Track 1 A
Track 2 A
Track 3 A

Works Created by the Same Co-Authors

Likewise, you may use this application if all of the works were created by the same co-authors, as shown below:

Example :

Works Co-Authors
Track 1 A & B
Track 2 A & B
Track 3 A & B

Works Created by a Common Author

You may also use this application if all of the works being registered have a common author or a common co-author. This means that at least one of the authors must have contributed copyrightable authorship to each and every work in the group, as shown in the following examples.

Example:

Works Authors
Track 1 A
Track 2 A & B
Track 3 A & C
Photos, artwork, liner notes A

In this example, all of the sound recordings, photos, artwork, and liner notes have a common author, because each work was created or co-created by the same person. In other words, A is the author or co-author of every work in this group, even though A co-created tracks 2 and 3 with a different co-author – namely, B and C.

Example:

Works Co-authors
Track 4 A & B
Track 5 A & C
Track 6 D & E
Photographs F

In this example, tracks 4 and 5 have a common author, because each work was co-created by the same person. In other words, A is the co-author of tracks 4 and 5, even though A co-created these works with a different co-author – namely, B and C.

By contrast, track 6 doesn’t have a common author, because the co-authors of that track– D and E – did not create any of the other works in this group.

Likewise, the photographs don’t have a common author, because the author of those works – F – did not create any of the sound recordings.

Claimant Information

When you complete the application, you must provide the name and address for the copyright claimant.

Who is the copyright claimant?

The copyright claimant is the author or co-author of all of the works being registered, or the person or organization that owns all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of all of the works being registered.

In all cases, the copyright claimant for each work listed in the application must be the same person or the same organization.

Can I name the author as the copyright claimant?

If you plan to name the author or co-authors as the copyright claimant, then all of the works being registered must be created by the exact same authors, as shown in the following examples.

Example:

Works Co-authors
Track 1 A & B
Track 2 A & B
Track 3 A & B
Liner notes A & B

In this example, A and B co-created tracks 1, 2, and 3 and the liner notes for this album. All of the works may be registered with this application by naming A and B as the co-claimants.

Example:

Works Co-authors
Track 4 A & C
Track 5 A & C
Track 6 A & D
Artwork E

In this example, A and C created tracks 4 and 5. A and D created track 6. Tracks 4 and 5 may be registered with this application by naming A and C as the co-claimants for these works.

By contrast, track 6 cannot be included in the claim, because the co-authors of that work are different than the co-authors of tracks 4 and 5. The artwork cannot be included in the claim for the same reason.

To register track 6 or the artwork, the applicant should submit a separate application, deposit, and fee for each work using the Standard Application, not the group registration application. Click here if you need help locating the Standard Application.

Can I name a third party as the copyright claimant, such as a record label?

A third party – such as a record label – may be named as the copyright claimant if that party owns all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of all of the works being registered.

The copyright law provides copyright owners with the following exclusive rights in their sound recordings:

Exclusive Rights in Sound Recordings

  • The exclusive right to reproduce a sound recording in phonorecords
  • The exclusive right to prepare derivative works based upon a sound recording
  • The exclusive right to distribute phonorecords of a sound recording to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending
  • The exclusive right to publicly perform a sound recording by means of a digital audio transmission

Likewise, the copyright law provides copyright owners with the following exclusive rights in their photos, artwork, and liner notes:

Exclusive Rights in Photographs, Artwork, and Liner Notes

  • The exclusive right to reproduce the work in copies
  • The exclusive right to prepare derivative works based upon the work
  • The exclusive right to distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending
  • The exclusive right to publicly perform the liner notes
  • The exclusive right to publicly display the photographs, artwork, or liner notes

A third party may be named as the copyright claimant if that party owns all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of all of the works listed in your application.

If you plan to name a third party as the copyright claimant, you should only list the works that are owned by that party.

If a third party does not own all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of a particular work, you should not list that work in your application.

Example:

Works Co-authors Owner of All of the Authors’ Exclusive Rights
Track 1 A & B Record Label X
Track 2 A & C Record Label X

In this example, A and B created track 1. A and C created track 2. A, B, and C transferred all of their exclusive rights to Record Label X by written agreement.

Tracks 1 and 2 may be registered with this application, by naming Record Label X as the claimant for those works.

Example:

Works Co-authors Owner of 50% of the Authors’ Distribution Rights Owner of All Other Exclusive Rights
Track 3 A & D Record Label Y A & D
Track 4 A & D Record Label Y A & D

In this example, A and D created tracks 3 and 4. Both authors transferred 50% of their distribution rights to Record Label Y. The authors retained the rest of their exclusive rights.

Tracks 3 and 4 may be registered with the same application, by naming authors A and D as the co-claimants for these works.

As mentioned above, a third party may only be named as the copyright claimant if that party owns all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of all of the works being registered.

A third party that does not own all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author or co-author of the works cannot be named as a claimant.

In this example, Record Label Y cannot be named as a claimant, because the company owns some – but not all – of the exclusive rights in tracks 3 and 4.

Publication Information

All of the works that you submit with this application must be published on the same album. All of the works must be first published in the same country. And as a general rule, all of the works must be first published on the same date.

Note: Unpublished works cannot be registered with this application.

Limited Exception for Previously Published Sound Recordings

There is a limited exception to this rule for sound recordings that were previously published as an individual work (such as a single) before they were published on the album. (Note: This exception does not apply to photographs, artwork, or liner notes that were previously published before they appeared on the album.)

A previously published track may be included in the claim if the following requirements have been met.

  • The previously published track must be exactly the same as the track published on the album.
  • And the previously published track must be expressly claimed in the “Note to Copyright Office” section of the application, including the title of the work and the month, day, and year (MM/DD/YYYY) that it was published for the first time.

Example:

Title of the Works Album Track Number Album Publication Date Single Publication Date Nation of First Publication
Mercury 1 6/1/2021 USA
Venus 2 6/1/2021 USA
Earth 3 6/1/2021 3/1/2021 USA
Mars 4 6/1/2021 3/1/2021 Canada
  • Tracks1 through 4 were published on the same album on June 1, 2021.
  • Tracks 3 and 4 were published as singles before they were published on the album. Track 3 was first published in the United States on March 1, 2021. Track 4 was first published in Canada on March 1, 2021.

Tracks 1 and 2 may be registered with the group registration application.

Track 3 may be included in the claim, because that work was first published in the same country as tracks 1 and 2. To do so, the applicant should provide the following information in the “Note to Copyright” space:

  • The title of the single
  • The month, day, and year (MM/DD/YYYY) that the single was first published
  • And a brief statement confirming that the previously published track is exactly the same as the track that was published on the album, such as: “Earth was first published as a single on 03/01/2021. The previously published track is identical to the track published on the album.”

By contrast, track 4 cannot be included in the group registration application, because it was first published in a different country than the rest of the works in this group. To register track 4, the applicant should submit a separate application, deposit, and fee using the Standard Application. Click here if you need help locating the Standard Application.

Submit Your Works to the Copyright Office

To register a group of sound recordings that were published on the same album, you must submit one complete copy of each work that you want to register. You also must submit a copy of any photographs, artwork, or liner notes that are being registered.

Albums published in a physical format or published both in digital and physical format

If the album was published in the United States, and if it was published solely in a physical format – such as a CD or LP – or published both in digital and physical format, you must send two physical copies of the best edition of the entire album. You also must submit any printed or visually perceptible material that was published with the album, such as photos, artwork, or liner notes appearing on the album cover.

If the album was first published in a physical format outside the United States (but was not published in this country) you must send one physical copy of the album as published in the foreign country, including any printed or visually perceptible material that was distributed with the album (such as artwork, photos, or liner notes appearing on the album cover).

If the album was first published in a foreign country and later published in the United States, you may send one copy of the album that was first published overseas or one copy of the best edition that was published in this country.

Albums published solely in a digital format

If the album was published solely in a digital format but was not published in a physical format, such as a CD or LP, you may upload your sound recordings in a digital form. You may also upload a digital copy of any photos, artwork, or liner notes that are being registered.

Uploading your works to the electronic registration system

When you complete your application you must provide the title and track number for each sound recording that you want to register. If you upload each recording in a digital format, the name assigned to each audio file must match the corresponding titles that you listed in the application. The file name should also include the track number that was assigned to each sound recording when it was published on the album.

Example:

Titles listed in the application: Album track number listed in the application: Filenames for the digital audio files:
Birthday Party 2 02birthdayparty.mp3
Dinner Party 4 04dinnerparty.mp3
Wedding Party 6 06weddingparty.mp3

If you plan to register photos, artwork, or liner notes, the file names for those works should identify the type of work you plan to submit. For example, if you plan to register a photograph, the word “photo” should be included in the file name. If you plan to register artwork, the word “artwork” should be included in the file name.

If you plan to submit multiple items, then the file name for each work should be appropriately labeled and numbered to distinguish them from each other, such as “photo 1,” “photo 2,” “photo 3,” etc.

Example:

Type of work Filenames for the digital files:
3 photographs photo1.jpeg
photo2.jpeg
photo3.jpeg
Artwork artwork.pdf
Liner notes linernotes.pdf

To see a list of the titles that you entered in the application, follow these steps:

  • When you reach the deposit submission screen, go to the section of the page labeled “Upload Your Work(s)”
  • Under “case details” locate the word “Title.”
  • Next to the word “Title” you’ll find the group title that was assigned to your claim. It starts with the phrase “Works published on the album” followed by the album title, as shown below:

Example:

Album title: Solar System

Group title: Works published on the album Solar System

  • Click the link embedded in the group title. A pop up window will appear listing the titles for the sound recordings that you entered on the titles screen. Be sure to upload a separate audio file for every work listed in this window. And make sure that the file names include both the titles and track numbers that you entered on the “Titles” screen.

Requirements for Digital Audio Files

Each work that you upload to the Copyright Office must be contained in a separate file. And each file must be saved in an acceptable format. The list of acceptable formats is posted on the Office’s website.

Each file must be uploaded one by one. Do not upload all of your works in a ZIP folder.

Note: The Copyright Office will not accept:

  • Files containing multiple works
  • Files submitted in an unacceptable file format
  • Files uploaded in a zip folder, instead of one-by-one

Title Information

You may register up to 20 sound recordings with this application. You also may register any photographs, artwork, or liner notes that were first published with the album. All of the works that you submit must be published on the same album. All of the works must be first published in the same country. And as a general rule, all of the works must be first published on the same date.

Note: There is a limited exception to this rule for sound recordings that were previously published as an individual work (such as a single) before they were published on the album. Click here to learn more about this exception.

You must provide the title of the album. You must provide a separate title for each sound recording that you want to register. And you must provide the track numbers that were assigned to those sound recordings when they were published on the album.

Example:

Title of the Album Title of the Works Published on the Album Album Track Numbers Titles of the Works Being Registered
Solar System Mercury 1 Mercury
Venus 2 Venus
Earth 3 Earth
Mars 4
Jupiter 5
Saturn 6
Neptune 7
Uranus 8

In this example, the applicant is registering three tracks that were published on the same album. To do so, the applicant should provide the following information:

Album title: Solar System

Title / track numbers for the works being registered:

  • Mercury/Track 1
  • Venus/Track 2
  • Earth/Track 3

Click here for guidance on registering photos, artwork, or liner notes

Group Title

A group title will be automatically added to your application. The group title will consist of the phrase “Works published on the album” followed by the album title, as shown below.

Example:

  • Album title: Solar System
  • Group title: Works published on the album Solar System

This title will be used to identify your claim as a group registration. It will appear on the certificate and in the Copyright Office’s online public record.

Completing the “Album Title / Publication and Completion Information” Screen

To begin, click “New” on the “Titles” screen. Provide the information requested on the “Album Title/Publication and Completion Information” screen. Click “Save” when you’re done.

Title of Album / Date of First Publication for the Album

Enter the album title in the space provided. Then enter the date of first publication for the album. As a reminder, all of the works being registered must be published on the album on this date.

Nation of First Publication for the Album

All of the works must be first published in the same country. In the space marked “Nation of First Publication for the Album,” select the name of the country where the album was first published.

The “Nation of First Publication” is the country where the album was distributed for the first time. If the album was first published in the United States and another country, you may state “United States.” If the album was first published in multiple countries, you may provide that information in the “Note to Copyright Office” space, which is located on the “Certification” screen.

Name of Label / Label Number

You are encouraged to provide the name of the record label that released the album. If the record label assigned a cataloguing number to the album, you are also encouraged to provide that information in the space provided.

Was this album released as a digital album? Was this album released as a physical product?

Please tell us if the album was distributed in digital form or as a physical product, such as a CD or LP.

You should provide a “yes” answer to at least one of these questions. If the album was distributed both in digital form and in a physical format, you should answer “yes” to both questions.

Number of sound recordings being registered

Enter the number of sound recordings that will be included in this claim by selecting a number between 2 and 20 from the drop down menu.

As a reminder, you must submit at least 2 – but no more than 20 sound recordings with your application. By contrast, there is no limit on the number of photos, artwork, or liner notes that may be included in your claim. Click here for guidance on registering these types of works.

Year of Completion

In the “Year of Completion” space, enter the year in which the works were completed.

If the works were completed in the same year, enter that year in the space provided.

If the works were completed over a period of two or more years, provide the year of completion for the most recent work in the group.

Example:

Keisha created 3 sound recordings in December 2020 and 2 photographs in January 2021. The works were published on the same album in February 2021. Keisha should enter “2021” in the “Year of Completion” space.

Tips for Completing the “Titles of the Sound Recordings Being Registered” Screen

As mentioned above, you must provide a separate title for each sound recording that you want to register. And you must provide the track numbers that were assigned to those works when they were published on the album.

There are two things to keep in mind when you complete this part of the application.

  • First, the copyright claimant for each work listed in the application must be the same person or the same organization.
  • Second, if you upload a digital copy of your sound recordings, the titles and track numbers that you list in the application must match the file names for the audio files that you submit to the Copyright Office.

Who is the copyright claimant?

The copyright claimant is the author or co-authors of all of the works being registered, or the person or organization that owns all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of all of the works being registered. Read more.

Are you planning to name the author as the copyright claimant?

If you plan to name the authors as the copyright claimants, those authors must have created all of the sound recordings that you list on the titles screen. Read more.

  • In this situation, you should only list sound recordings created by exactly the same author or the same co-authors.
  • If any of the works were created by different authors, you should not list that work on the titles screen.

Are you planning to name a third party as the copyright claimant, such as a record label?

A third party may be named as the copyright claimant(s) if that party owns all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of all of the works being registered. Read more.

Specifically, the third party must own all of the exclusive rights listed below:

  • The exclusive right to reproduce the sound recordings in phonorecords
  • The exclusive right to prepare derivative works based upon the sound recordings
  • The exclusive right to distribute phonorecords of the sound recordings to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending
  • The exclusive right to publicly perform the sound recordings by means of a digital audio transmission

If you plan to name a third party as the copyright claimant – such as a record label – that party must own all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of all of the works being registered.

When completing the titles screen, you should only list the sound recordings that are owned by the copyright claimant. If the claimant does not own all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of a particular recording, do not list that work on this screen. Read more.

Click here for examples that illustrate this requirement.

Titles and track numbers provided on the “Titles of the Sound Recordings Being Registered” Screen must match the filenames for the audio files you submit to the Copyright Office

After you file your application, you must submit a complete copy of each sound recording being registered.

If the album was published in the United States in a physical format, such as a CD or LP, you must send two physical copies of the best edition of the entire album, including any printed or visually perceptible material that was distributed with the album. If the album was published in a physical format outside the United States (but was not published in this country) you must send one physical copy of the album as published in the foreign country, including any printed or visually perceptible material that was distributed with the album. And if the album was first published in a foreign country and later published in the United States, you may send one copy of the album that was first published overseas or one copy of the best edition that was published in this country.

If the album was distributed solely in a digital format and was not distributed in a physical form, such as a CD or LP, then you may upload your sound recordings in a digital form.

The titles you provide in the application must match the corresponding filenames for the audio files you upload to the Copyright Office.

The file name should also include the track number that was assigned to the sound recording when it was published on the album.

Example:

Titles listed in the application: Album track number listed in the application: Filenames for the digital audio files:
Birthday Party 2 02birthdayparty.mp3
Dinner Party 4 04dinnerparty.mp3
Wedding Party 6 06weddingparty.mp3

Punctuation or other special characters do not need to be included in the filename. For example, if track number 12 is titled “What’s the Occasion?” the file may be named “12whatstheoccasion.mp3” (omitting the apostrophe and question mark as shown on your screen).

Example:

Title listed in the application: Album track number listed in the application: Filename for the digital audio file:
What’s the Occasion? 12 12whatstheoccasion.mp3

Click here for information concerning the file naming requirement for photos, artwork, or liner notes.

Completing the “Titles of the Sound Recordings Being Registered” Screen

When you’re ready to enter the titles and track numbers for your sound recordings, click “New” on the “Titles” screen. A new screen will appear with the heading “Titles of the Sound Recordings Being Registered.” Be sure to read all of the instructions before you complete this screen.

In the space provided, enter the title of the sound recording that you want to register.

Then provide the track number that was assigned to this sound recording when it was published on the album. The track number must be entered in numerical form and may contain no more than one or two digits.

When completing the titles screen, you should only enter one title and one track number in the spaces provided. Do not enter titles for two or more works in these spaces.

When you’re done, click “Save” at the top of your screen.

If you need to add titles for other works, click “New” on the “Titles” screen and repeat the previous steps. Once you have entered titles for all of the sound recordings in the group, click “Continue.”

Hidden Tracks

To register a “hidden track” – such as a sound recording that was published on the album but was not listed in the liner notes or elsewhere in the deposit – you should provide the following information in the application:

Important: If you upload a digital copy of the hidden track, the name assigned to the digital file must match the corresponding title that you enter on the “Titles of the Sound Recordings Being Registered” screen and in the “Note to Copyright Office” space. If the titles and the file names do not match each other, the Office may remove that work from your application or may refuse to register the entire claim.

Example:

Title listed in the application: Filename for the digital audio file:
The Surprise Party thesurpriseparty.mp3

Author(s) of the Sound Recordings

You must identify the author of the sound recordings that you want to register. Generally, sound recordings are created by performers and/or producers. In other words, the author of a sound recording may be the performer featured in the recording, and/or the producer who captured, manipulated, and/or edited the sounds that appear in the final recording.

If the sound recording was created as a work made for hire, then the employer or the party that ordered or commissioned the work is considered the author, rather than the performer and/or producer who actually created the recording.

If the sound recordings were co-created by two or more co-authors, you must identify each author in the application.

When you submit your claim, the term “sound recording” will be added automatically to the entry for each author that you identify on this screen. This term will appear on the certificate and in the Copyright Office’s online public record.

Note: Click here for guidance on registering photographs, artwork, and liner notes.

Performing Groups

When completing the “Authors” screen, you should identify the authors who created or co-created the sound recordings that you plan to register.

Generally, you should not name a performing group as the author of the works, unless the group is a legal entity that created each sound recording as a work made for hire. If the author or co-authors are members of a performing group, you may include this information in the “Note to Copyright Office” space. But naming a performing group as the author – without naming the individual members who created the works – is not sufficient.

You should not list all of the members of a performing group, unless all of the members co-created the sound recordings that you plan to register. For instance, if Bingo, Mick, Paul, and Keith are members of a band, and if Keith and Bingo performed and produced all of the works being registered, then Keith and Bingo should be named as the co-authors. By contrast, Mick and Paul should not be named in the application, because they did not contribute performance or production authorship to the works being registered.

Performers and Producers vs. Composers, Lyricists, and/or Songwriters

A musical work – such as a song with music and lyrics – and a recording of a band performing that song are two separate works. A musical work is a work that consists of music – including melody, rhythm, and/or harmony – and any accompanying lyrics. A sound recording is a recording of a particular performance of a musical work. Read more.

The author of a musical work is the person who created the music and/or lyrics, such as a composer, lyricist, or songwriter. Sound recordings are generally created by performers and/or producers. In other words, the author of a sound recording is the performer featured in the recording, and/or the producer who captured, manipulated, and/or edited the sounds that appear in the final recording.

When completing the “Authors” section you should identify the authors of the sound recordings that are being registered. You should not name the composers, lyricists, and/or songwriters who created music and/or lyrics, unless those individuals also contributed performance and/or production authorship to the sound recordings that you plan to submit.

Tips for Completing the “Author(s) of the Sound Recordings Being Registered” Screen

There are two things to keep in mind before you complete this screen.

  • First, all of the sound recordings must be created by the same author, or the works must have a common author. In other words, at least one of the authors must have contributed copyrightable authorship to each and every work in the group. Read more.
  • Second, the copyright claimant for each work listed in the application must be the same person or the same organization. Read more.

Who is the copyright claimant?

The claimant is the author or co-author of all of the works being registered, or the person or organization that owns all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of all of the works being registered.

Can I name the author as the copyright claimant?

If you plan to name the author or co-authors as the copyright claimant, then all of the works being registered must be created by the exact same authors. In this situation, you should only list sound recordings created by exactly the same author or the same co-authors when you complete the Authors screen. Read more.

Can I name a third party as the copyright claimant, such as a record label?

A third party – such as a record label – may be named as the copyright claimant if that party owns all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of all of the works being registered. Read more.

In this situation, you should only list the sound recordings that are owned by the copyright claimant. If the claimant does not own all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of a particular track, do not list that work on the Authors screen. Read more.

Click here for examples that illustrate this requirement.

Completing the “Author(s) of the Sound Recordings Being Registered” Screen

When you’re ready to identify the authors of your sound recordings, click “New.” A new screen will appear.

Enter the author’s information in the spaces provided.

If the author is an individual, such as a performer or producer, enter that person’s name in the “Individual Author” space.

If the sound recordings were created by or on behalf of an organization, such as a record label, enter that entity’s name in the “Organization” space and select “yes” in the work made for hire space.

Work Made For Hire

A work made for hire is either:

  • A work created by an employee within the scope of his or her employment.
  • or
  • A work that is specially ordered or commissioned, provided that the parties expressly agree in a writing signed by both parties that the work is considered a “work made for hire,” and the work is specially ordered or commissioned for use as:
    • a contribution to a collective work
    • a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work
    • a translation
    • a compilation
    • a test or answer material for a test
    • an atlas
    • instructional text, which is defined as a “literary, pictorial, or graphic work prepared for publication and with the purpose of use in systematic instructional activities;” or
    • a supplementary work, which is defined as “a work prepared for publication as a secondary adjunct to a work by another author for the purpose of introducing, concluding, illustrating, explaining, revising, commenting upon, or assisting in the use of the other work, such as forewords, afterwords, pictorial illustrations, maps, charts, tables, editorial notes, musical arrangements, answer material for tests, bibliographies, appendixes, and indexes.”

The Copyright Office developed a questionnaire that may be useful in determining whether a particular work qualifies as a “work made for hire.” To complete the questionnaire and to read more information about this topic, see Works Made For Hire (Circular 30).

Who is the author of a work made for hire?

The author of a work made for hire is the employer or the party that ordered or commissioned the work.

Who should be named as the author of a “work made for hire”?

If a work is a “work made for hire,” you should select “yes” in the space marked “Is this author’s contribution a work made for hire.”

As mentioned above, the author of a “work made for hire” is the employer of the person(s) who created the work or the party that ordered or commissioned the work. Do not name the person or persons who actually created a work made for hire.

If the works were created by a legal entity, provide that entity’s name in the space marked “Organization.” Note: As mentioned above, a performing group should not be named as the author of the works, unless the group is a legal entity that created each work as a work made for hire.

If the employer or commissioning party is an individual, provide that person’s first and last name in the spaces marked “Individual Author.”

Citizenship and Domicile

You should identify the author’s country of citizenship and/or domicile. To enter this information select one of the countries listed in the drop down menu.

“Citizenship” means that the author is a citizen of a particular nation or the author owes permanent allegiance to a particular country, even though he or she is not a citizen of that nation.

“Domicile” is the nation where the author has a fixed and permanent residence, where the author intends to maintain his or her residence for an unlimited time, and whenever absent where the author intends to return.

Year of Birth / Year of Death

If the author is an individual and if that person is deceased, you must enter the author’s year of death in the space provided. This information is required, because the length of the copyright term may be based on the year that the author died.

If you like, you may provide the author’s year of birth. This information is entirely optional. But please note that if you complete this part of the application, the author’s year of birth will appear on the certificate and the Office’s online public database.

Anonymous

What is an anonymous work?

A work is “anonymous” if the author of that work is not identified on the album or in the liner notes. If the author’s name appears on the album or in the liner notes for a particular work, that work is not “anonymous,” even if the author does not wish to reveal his or her identity in the registration record.

Examples:

  • The album packaging contains artwork and photographs, but it doesn’t contain any credits identifying the author of the sound recordings. Each track would be considered an anonymous work, because the author’s name was not mentioned in the deposit.
  • The liner notes for an album reads “All tracks performed and produced by John-Paul George and Bingo Star.” These songs would not be considered anonymous works, because the authors’ names appear in the liner notes.
  • The credits on the back cover of the album read “Recorded and Produced by Quincy James.” This would not be considered an anonymous work, because the author’s name appears on the album cover.

How should you identify the author of an anonymous work?

If the author’s name does not appear on the album or in the liner notes — and if you do not want to reveal the author’s identity in the registration record — check the box indicating that the works were created anonymously.

If the author created the works anonymously — and if you want to disclose the author’s identity in the registration record — you may enter the author’s name in the spaces for “First Name” and “Last Name.”

Important Note:

Depending on the circumstances, providing the author’s name in the registration record for an anonymous work may extend or reduce the term of copyright. For additional information see the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Chapter 600, Section 615.1.

If you check the box indicating that the works were created anonymously — and if you do not want to reveal the author’s identity in the registration record — you should not include the author’s real name anywhere in the application (including the “Certification” screen). If you include the author’s real name in the application it becomes part of the public record and cannot be changed once a registration has issued.

Pseudonymous

What is a pseudonymous work?

A sound recording is “pseudonymous” if the author is identified on the album or in the liner notes solely by a stage name, performing name, fictitious name, or other pseudonym. If both the author’s legal name and fictitious name appear on the album or in the liner notes for a particular track, that work is not pseudonymous.

Examples:

  • The credits on the back of the album read “All tracks recorded and produced by Ziggy Stardust.” These tracks could be considered pseudonymous works, because “Ziggy Stardust” is a pseudonym for the performer/producer (whose real name is David Jones).
  • The liner notes read “All tracks performed and produced by David Jones (a.k.a. Ziggy Stardust, a.k.a. David Bowie).” These tracks would not be considered pseudonymous works, because the author’s real name appears in the liner notes.
  • The credits on the album cover read “Recorded and produced by David Jones.” This would not be considered a pseudonymous work, because the author’s real name appears on the album.
  • The copyright notice for a track reads: “All tracks (P) David Jones 2021.” This would not be considered a pseudonymous work, because the author’s real name appears on the album.

The name of a performing group is not a pseudonym

As mentioned above, you should identify the authors who created the works listed in the application, even if the album states that the works were created by a performing group. The name of a performing group is not a pseudonym, so you should not include that name in the “Pseudonym” space. If the author or co-authors are members of a performing group, you may include this information in the “Note to Copyright Office” space on the “Certification” screen.

How should you identify the author of a pseudonymous work?

If the author’s pseudonym appears on the album or in the liner notes (but the author’s real name does not) — and if you do not want to reveal the author’s real name in the registration record — you may leave the “First Name” and “Last Name” spaces blank. Then check the box indicating that the works are “pseudonymous” and enter the author’s pseudonym in the space provided.

If the author’s pseudonym appears on the album or in the liner notes — and if you want to disclose the author’s identity in the registration record — you may provide that person’s name in the spaces for “First Name” and “Last Name.” You may also check the box indicating that the works are “pseudonymous” and enter the author’s pseudonym in the space provided.

Important Note: Depending on the circumstances, providing the author’s name in the registration record for a pseudonymous work may extend or reduce the term of copyright. For additional information see Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Chapter 600, Section 615.2.

If you checked the box indicating that the author’s pseudonym appears on the album — and if you do not want to reveal the author’s identity in the registration record — you should not include the author’s real name anywhere in the application (including the “Certification” screen). If you include the author’s real name in the application it becomes part of the public record and cannot be changed once a registration has issued.

Identifying the Sound Recordings Created by this Author

Once you’ve identified the author, you must identify the sound recordings that were created or co-created by this author.

If this author created all of the sound recordings that you want to register, you may check the box that reads: “Check this box ONLY if this author created or co-created ALL of the sound recordings that you want to register.”

Important: Do not check this box if the author created some – but not all –of the sound recordings that you want to register. Instead, you should complete the box that reads: “Album track number(s) for the sound recording(s) created by this author.” Specifically, you should identify the sound recordings that this author created by entering the track numbers that were assigned to those works when they were published on the album.

Each track number should be entered as a number and each number should be separated with a comma.

Example:

Titles of the Works Being Registered Album Track Numbers Author
Heartache 2 Record Label X
Lovelorn 4 Record Label X
Loneliness 7 Record Label X

Record Label X created three sound recordings that were published on an album as track numbers 2, 4, and 7. To register these works you should enter the record label’s name in the “Organization” space and select “yes” in the work made for hire space. To identify the works that the label created you may check the box that reads “Check this box ONLY if this author created or co-created ALL of the sound recordings that you want to register.”

By contrast, you should not check this box if the record label created some – but not all – of the sound recordings that you want to register.

Example:

Titles of the Works Being Registered Album Track Numbers Author(s)
Happiness 9 Paul Performer & Phil Producer
Celebration 11 Phil Producer
Elated 13 Phil Producer

In this example, Paul and Phil co-created track 9. Phil created tracks 11 and 13 by himself.

You should enter Paul’s name in the “Individual Author” space. You should not check the box that reads “Check this box ONLY if this author created or co-created ALL of the sound recordings that you want to register,” because Paul did not create all of the works being registered; he only created track number 9. To identify that work you should enter the number “9” in the box that reads “Album track number(s) for the sound recoding(s) created by this author.”

By contrast, Phil created or co-created tracks 9, 11, and 13. After you enter his name in the “Individual Author” space, you may check the box stating that he created all of the works being registered.

Author(s) and Titles of the Photographs, Artwork, and Liner Notes

What can be registered with this application?

You may register up to 20 sound recordings with this application. You may also register photographs, artwork, or liner notes that were first published on the same album.

There is no limit on the number of photos, artwork, or liner notes that may be submitted with your claim. But you must include at least two sound recordings with this application. You cannot register photos, artwork, or liner notes by themselves.

To register these types of works, you must satisfy certain requirements. If your works do not satisfy these requirements, the Copyright Office may remove them from your application or may refuse to register the entire claim. You may then choose to resubmit a separate application, deposit, and filing fee for each work.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Each work must be a literary work, pictorial work, or graphic work, such as a photo, cover art, or liner notes.
  • All of the works must be first published on the album and on the same date.
  • All of the sound recordings, photos, artwork, and liner notes must be created by the same author, or all of these works must have a common author. Read more.
  • The works may be registered as works made for hire if they are identified in the application as such.
  • Note: The Copyright Office has developed a questionnaire that may be useful in determining whether a particular work qualifies as a “work made for hire.” To complete the questionnaire and to read more information about this topic, read Circular 30.
  • Finally, the copyright claimant or co-claimants for all of the sound recordings, photos, artwork, and liner notes must be the same person(s) or the same organization. Read more.

Tips for Registering Photos, Artwork, or Liner Notes

You must complete this part of the application if you want to register photos, artwork, or liner notes. If you do not want to register these types of works, leave this screen blank and click “Continue” to proceed to the “Claimant” screen.

There are two things to keep in mind before you complete this part of the application.

  • First, the photos, artwork, and liner notes must be created by the same person or organization that created or co-created your sound recordings. In other words, all of the works must be created by the same author or all of the works must have a common author. This means that at least one of the authors must have contributed copyrightable authorship to all of the sound recordings, photos, artwork, or liner notes that you submit to the Copyright Office. Read more.
  • Second, the copyright claimant for the sound recordings, photos, artwork, and liner notes must be the same person or the same organization. Read more.

Who is the copyright claimant?

The claimant is the author or co-author of all of the works being registered, or the person or organization that owns all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of all of the works being registered.

Can I name the author as the copyright claimant?

If you plan to name the author or co-authors as the copyright claimant, then all of the sound recordings, photos, artwork, and liner notes must be created by the exact same authors. When you complete this screen, you should only list works created by exactly the same author or the same co-authors. Read more.

Can I name a third party as the copyright claimant, such as a record label?

A third party – such as a record label – may be named as the copyright claimant if that party owns all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of all of the works being registered.

In this situation, you should only list the works that are owned by the copyright claimant. If the claimant does not own all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of the photos, artwork, or liner notes, do not list those works on this screen. Read more.

Click here for examples that illustrate this requirement.

Completing the “Authors and Titles of the Photos, Artwork, and/or Liner Notes” Being Registered Screen

To register photos, artwork, or liner notes, click “New.” A new screen will appear. Be sure to read all of the instructions and examples shown on this screen before you proceed!

You must identify the author of the works you want to register. If the works were co-created by two or more co-authors, you must identify each author in the application.

Generally, the author of a photograph is the person who shoots the photograph. The author of a piece of artwork is the person who sketches, draws, or paints the image. And the author of liner notes is the person who writes the text.

If any of the works were created as works made for hire, then the employer or the party that ordered or commissioned that work is considered the author, rather than the individual who actually created the photo, artwork, or liner notes.

Identify the Authors of the Photographs, Artwork, or Liner Notes

Enter the author’s name in the spaces provided.

If the works were created by an individual, enter that person’s name in the “Individual Author” space.

Note: Click here for information about registering Anonymous and Pseudonymous Works.

If the works were created by an organization, such as a record label, enter the organization’s name in the space provided and select “yes” in the “Work Made For Hire” space. Note: A performing group should not be named as the author of the works, unless the group is a legal entity that created the photos, artwork, or liner notes as a work made for hire.

Note: Click here for information about registering works made for hire.

Citizenship/Domicile

You should identify the author’s country of citizenship and/or domicile. To enter this information select one of the countries listed in the drop down menu.

“Citizenship” means that the author is a citizen of a particular nation or the author owes permanent allegiance to a particular country, even though he or she is not a citizen of that nation.

“Domicile” is the nation where the author has a fixed and permanent residence, where the author intends to maintain his or her residence for an unlimited time, and whenever absent where the author intends to return.

Year of Birth / Year of Death

If the works were created by an individual and if that person is deceased, you must enter the author’s year of death in the space provided. This information is required, because the length of the copyright term may be based on the year that the author died.

If you like, you may provide the author’s year of birth. This information is entirely optional. But please note that if you complete this part of the application, the author’s year of birth will appear on the certificate and the Office’s online public database.

Identify the Photographs, Artwork, or Liner Notes Created by this Author

Once you’ve identified the author, select the term from the “Author Created” field that best describes the works created or co-created by this author.

Once you’ve entered all the information requested, click the “Save” button at the top of your screen. If the photos, artwork, or liner notes were created by two or more co-authors, you should provide the requested information for each author. To do so, click the “New” button and then repeat the steps described above.

Title Information

A generic title will be automatically added to your application if you complete the screen for “Authors and Titles of the Photos, Artwork, and/or Liner Notes Being Registered.” The title will consist of the term you selected from the “Author Created” field, followed by the phrase “first published on the album,” followed by the album title.

For example, if you selected “text of liner notes” from the drop down menu and if those works were first published on the album “Seaside Vacation,” the following title will be automatically added to your application:

Example:

  • Author created: Text of liner notes
  • Album title: Seaside Vacation
  • Generic title: Text of liner notes first published on the album Seaside Vacation

The generic title will be used to identify the works that you listed in the application. It will appear on the certificate and in the Copyright Office’s online public record.

Note: If you would like to provide a specific title for your photographs, artwork, or liner notes, you may enter the title of the work in the “Note to Copyright Office” space on the “Certification” screen. Be sure to identify all of the authors of that work, and add a brief statement that identifies the type of work being registered (such as “this is the title for the album cover artwork” or “this is the title of the photo on page 3 of the insert”). If you upload a digital copy of your photographs, artwork, or liner notes, be sure that the name assigned to the digital file matches the corresponding title that you enter in the “Note to Copyright Office” space. If the titles and the file names do not match each other, the Office may remove that work from your application or may refuse to register the entire claim.

Claimant Screen

When you complete the application, you must provide the name and address for the copyright claimant.

Tips for Completing the “Claimant” Screen

Before you complete this part of the application, be sure to read all of the instructions and examples shown on the “Claimant” screen.

Who is the copyright claimant?

The claimant is the author or co-author of all of the works being registered, or the person or organization that owns all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of all of the works being registered.

In all cases, the copyright claimant for each work listed in the application must be the same person or the same organization.

Can I name the author as the copyright claimant?

If you plan to name the author or co-authors as the copyright claimant, then all of the works being registered must be created by the exact same authors.

In this situation, you should only list works created by exactly the same author or the same co-authors when you complete the “Claimant” screen. Read more.

Can I name a third party as the copyright claimant, such as a record label?

A third party – such as a record label – may be named as the copyright claimant if that party owns all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of all of the works being registered.

If you plan to name a third party as the copyright claimant, you should only list the works that are owned by that party. If a third party does not own all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of a particular work, you should not list that work on the “Claimant” screen. Read more.

Click here for examples that illustrate this requirement.

Completing the “Claimant” Screen

When you’re ready to identify the copyright claimant for your works, click “New.” A new screen will appear.

Individual Claimant or Organization

Enter the claimant’s name and address in the spaces provided. If the claimant is an individual, such as a performer or producer, enter that person’s name and address in the “Individual Claimant” space. Then click “Save” at the top of your screen.

If the claimant is an organization, such as a record label, enter that entity’s name and address in the “Organization” space. Then provide an appropriate transfer statement at the bottom of your screen.

Transfer Statement

If the claimant is not the author of the works, you must explain how the claimant obtained ownership of all of the exclusive rights that initially belonged to an author of all of the works being registered.

To do so, select an appropriate transfer statement from the space marked “Transfer Statement.” Then click the “Save” button at the top of your screen.

Naming Additional Claimants

If plan to name all of the authors as co-claimants, you should provide a name and address for each co-author.

If plan to name two or more third parties as the co-claimants, you should provide a name and address for each party.

To do so, click the “New” button and then repeat the steps described above. Once you have identified the claimant or co-claimants for the works you plan to register, click “Continue.”

Limitation of Claim

The “Limitation of Claim” screen should be used to exclude any preexisting material from your claim, and to identify the new material that the authors contributed to your works.

What is preexisting material?

A group registration covers the new material that the author created and contributed to each work, but as a general rule, it does not cover any preexisting material contained within those works.

For purposes of registration, preexisting material includes:

  • Previously published material.
  • Previously registered material (including material that has been submitted for registration but is still pending).
  • Copyrightable material that is owned by another party, such as an individual or organization who is not named in the application as a copyright claimant.
  • Material that is in the public domain, such as a recording produced by the U.S. government.

Do I need to complete the “Limitation of Claim” Screen?

As a general rule, you should complete the “Limitation of Claim” screen if the works being registered contain material that has been previously published.

Likewise, you should complete this screen if the works contain material that has been previously registered with the Copyright Office, material that is owned by another party, or material that is in the public domain.

If the works being registered do not contain any preexisting material, you may leave this screen blank and click “Continue” to proceed to the “Rights & Permissions” screen.

Note: There is a limited exception to this rule for sound recordings that were previously published as an individual work (such as a single) before they were published on the album. These works should not be identified as “previously published” works on the “Limitation of Claim” screen, but instead must be expressly claimed in the “Note to Copyright Office” space on the “Certification” screen. Click here for more information about this exception.

Completing the “Limitation of Claim” Screen

Material Excluded Space

If the works contain preexisting material, briefly identify that material in the “Material Excluded” space.

If the works contain previously registered material, enter the registration number and year of registration in the spaces provided. If the Copyright Office issued multiple registrations for the preexisting material, give the year and number for the most recent registration.

New Material Included Space

In the “New Material Included” space, you should briefly describe the new material that the authors contributed to these works.

Be sure to identify the title and/or album track number for each work that contains preexisting material or new material.

Example:

Titles of Works Being Registered Album Track Number Preexisting Material New Material
Mercury 1 None Sound recording
Venus 2 Preexisting sample New sound recording
Jupiter 5 Previously published recording Remixed recording
Neptune 7 None Sound recording

“Mercury,” “Venus,” “Jupiter,” and “Neptune” were published on an album as track numbers 1, 2, 5, and 7. “Venus” is a new sound recording that contains a sample from a preexisting sound recording. “Jupiter” contains a remixed recording based on a previously published track. The rest of the works being registered are entirely new.

In the “Material Excluded” space the applicant should state “Track 2: Preexisting sample; Track 5: Preexisting recording.”

In the “New Material Included” space, the applicant should state “Track 2: New sound recording; Track 5: Remixed recording; all other tracks new.”

Example:

Titles of Works Being Registered Album Track Number Preexisting Material New Material
Sunday 1 None Sound recording
Monday 2 None Sound recording
Saturday 7 Previously published recording Remixed recording
Photograph #1 n/a None Photograph
Photograph #2 n/a Previously registered photograph None

“Saturday” was published on an album as track number 7. It contains a remixed recording based on a previously published track. The album also contains a photo that was previously registered with the Copyright Office. The rest of the works being registered are entirely new.

In the “Material Excluded” space the applicant should state “Track 7 previously published and one photo previously registered.”

In the “New Material Included” space, the applicant should state “1 new photo; track 7 remixed; all other tracks new.”

In addition, the applicant should provide the registration number and year of registration for the previously registered photo.

Certification Screen

The application must be certified before you submit your claim to the Copyright Office.

The certification may be signed by the author or claimant for the works being registered, or an owner of one or more of the exclusive right(s) in these works. Alternatively, the application may be certified by an authorized agent of one of these parties.

Check the box to confirm that you are authorized to certify the application. Then enter your first and last name in the space marked “First and Last Name of the Individual Certifying the Application.”

Note to Copyright Office Space

Use the “Note to Copyright Office” space to provide any additional information that may be relevant to the examination of your claim, such as explaining apparent discrepancies between the information given in the application and deposit.

Previously Published Works

The “Note to Copyright Office” space may also be used if you want to register a sound recording that was previously published as an individual work, such as a single, before it was published on the album. To do so, you should provide the following information in this space:

  • The title of the previously published work
  • The month, day and year (MM/DD/YYYY) that the work was published for the first time
  • A brief statement confirming that the previously published work is exactly the same as the work published on the album, such as “This work was first published as a single on [DATE]. The previously published track is identical to the track published on the album.”

Hidden Tracks

The “Note to Copyright Office” space may also be used to register a “hidden track” – such as a sound recording that was published on the album but was not listed in the liner notes or elsewhere in the deposit. To do so, you should provide the following information in the application:

Important: If you upload a digital copy of the hidden track, the name assigned to the digital file must match the corresponding title that you enter on the “Titles of the Sound Recordings Being Registered” screen and in the “Note to Copyright Office” space. If the titles and the file names do not match each other, the Office may remove that work from your application or may refuse to register the entire claim.

Example:

Title listed in the application: Filename for the digital audio file:
The Surprise Party thesurpriseparty.mp3

Providing a Specific Title for Photographs, Artwork, or Liner Notes

The “Note to Copyright Office” space may also be used to provide a specific title for any photographs, artwork, or liner notes that may be included in the claim.

To do so, enter the title of the work in this space. Be sure to identify all of the authors of that work, and add a brief statement that identifies the type of work they created (such as “this is the title for the album cover artwork” or “this is the title of the photo on page 3 of the insert”).

If you upload a digital copy of your photographs, artwork, or liner notes, be sure that the name assigned to the digital file matches the corresponding title that you enter in this space. If the titles and the file names do not match each other, the Office may remove that work from your application or may refuse to register the entire claim.

Review Submission

The information you entered in the application will be displayed on the “Review Submission” screen. Carefully review this information before submitting your application. Use the links in the navigation bar on the left side of your screen to go back and make corrections if needed.

Important: You cannot make changes to your application once it has been submitted. Be sure to review all the information on the “Review Submission” screen before proceeding.

Once you have confirmed that the information is correct, click “Add to Cart” to pay the fee and submit your application.

Submit Your Works to the Copyright Office

After payment is confirmed, you will receive an email confirming the receipt of your application and payment. The email will be sent from the following address: [email protected]

To complete the submission process, you must submit one complete copy of each sound recording that you want to register. You also must submit a copy of any photographs, artwork, or liner notes that are being registered.

Albums published in a physical format or published both in digital and physical format

If the album was published in the United States, and if it was published solely in a physical format – such as a CD or LP – or published both in digital and physical format, you must send two physical copies of the best edition of the entire album. You also must submit any printed or visually perceptible material that was published with the album, such as photos, artwork, or liner notes appearing on the album cover.

If the album was first published in a physical format outside the United States (but was not published in this country) you must send one physical copy of the album as published in the foreign country, including any printed or visually perceptible material that was distributed with the album (such as artwork, photos, or liner notes appearing on the album cover).

If the album was first published in a foreign country and later published in the United States, you may send one copy of the album that was first published overseas or one copy of the best edition that was published in this country.

Albums published solely in a digital format

If the album was published solely in a digital format but was not published in a physical format, such as a CD or LP, you may upload your sound recordings in a digital form. You may also upload a digital copy of any photos, artwork, or liner notes that are being registered.

Uploading your works to the electronic registration system

When you complete your application you must provide the title and track number for each sound recording that you want to register. If you upload each recording in a digital format, the name assigned to each audio file must match the corresponding titles that you listed in the application. The file name should also include the track number that was assigned to each sound recording when it was published on the album.

Example:

Titles listed in the application: Album track number listed in the application: Filenames for the digital audio files:
Birthday Party 2 02birthdayparty.mp3
Dinner Party 4 04dinnerparty.mp3
Wedding Party 6 06weddingparty.mp3

If you plan to register photos, artwork, or liner notes, the file names for those works should identify the type of work you plan to submit. For example, if you plan to register a photograph, the word “photo” should be included in the file name. If you plan to register artwork, the word “artwork” should be included in the file name.

If you plan to submit multiple items, then the file name for each work should be appropriately labeled and numbered to distinguish them from each other, such as “photo 1,” “photo 2,” “photo 3,” etc.

Example:

Type of work Filenames for the digital files:
3 photographs photo1.jpeg
photo2.jpeg
photo3.jpeg
Artwork artwork.pdf
Liner notes linernotes.pdf

To see a list of the titles that you entered in the application, follow these steps:

  • When you reach the deposit submission screen, go to the section of the page labeled “Upload Your Work(s)”
  • Under “case details” locate the word “Title.”
  • Next to the word “Title” you’ll find the group title that was assigned to your claim. It starts with the phrase “Works published on the album” followed by the album title, as shown below:

Example:

Album title: Solar System

Group title: Works published on the album Solar System

  • Click the link embedded in the group title. A pop up window will appear listing the titles for the sound recordings that you entered on the titles screen. Be sure to upload a separate audio file for every work listed in this window. And make sure that the file names include both the titles and track numbers that you entered on the titles screen.

Requirements for Digital Audio Files

Each work that you upload to the Copyright Office must be contained in a separate file. And each file must be saved in an acceptable format. The list of acceptable formats is posted on the Office’s website.

Each file must be uploaded one by one. Do not upload all of your works in a ZIP folder.

Note: The Copyright Office will not accept:

  • Files containing multiple works
  • Files submitted in an unacceptable file format
  • Files uploaded in a zip folder, instead of one-by-one

Uploading Your Works to the Electronic Registration System

To upload a copy of your works, follow these steps:

  • Click here to log into your eCO account.
  • Select the “Open Cases” link on the upper left hand side of your screen.
  • Locate the “case number” for your claim and click that number.
  • When you reach the deposit submission screen, click the green “Select a File for Upload” button.
  • A new window will open, allowing you to select one or more files from your computer. Select the files to be uploaded and click “Open.”
  • The files you selected will be displayed with the corresponding application.
  • Click the blue “Start Upload” button to upload the files.
  • A progress bar next to the file will allow you to watch the upload process. When the upload is complete, “successfully uploaded” will be added in front of the filename.
  • Do not leave this screen or close the application before the upload is complete, as this will stop the upload process.
  • Once you have uploaded all of your files, click the “Complete Your Submission” button.
  • You will receive an email from the Copyright Office confirming the receipt of your files. The email will be sent from [email protected]

Mailing Your Works to the Copyright Office

To send physical copies of your works to the Copyright Office, click “Create Shipping Slip” on the bottom of the deposit submission screen.

You will see an attachment link. Click it to open and print a copy of the shipping slip.

Attach the shipping slip to the copies of the album and mail it to the address printed on the bottom of the shipping slip.