Group Registration of Newsletters and Serials

After soliciting comments, the U.S. Copyright Office adopted a final rule, effective December 30, 2018, governing the group registration options for newsletters and serials. The final rule makes a number of changes to promote efficiency of the registration process and encourage broader participation in the registration system by reducing the burden on applicants.

For group newsletters, the final rule eliminates two requirements: (1) that each issue be a work made for hire, and (2) that registration claims must be received within three months of publication. Also, the final rule requires registration applicants to use the designated online application, and phases out the paper application (Form G/DN), absent exceptional cases. Applicants are required to upload a digital copies instead of submitting them to the Office in physical form.

For group serials, the final rule clarifies that: (1) each claim must include at least two issues, (2) serials generally must be published at intervals of one week or longer, (3) publication dates on the application need not match the dates on the issues, and (4) each issue must be an “all-new” (not previously published) collective work. Beginning December 31, 2019, the rule requires serial publishers to use the online application and eliminates the paper application (Form SE/Group), absent exceptional cases. From December 31, 2019, applicants will be required to upload digital copies instead of submitting them to the Office in physical form. (The Office has adopted a related technical rule to remove the references to the paper application and physical copies from the regulations when this phase-out period ends.)

The final rule changes the mandatory deposit requirements for both newsletters and serials. Applicants should no longer provide the Office with a subscription or microfilm as a condition of registration, but instead must directly provide the Library of Congress with two complimentary subscriptions to the newsletter or serial, if published in the United States in a physical format, in order to satisfy the deposit requirement (unless the Library notifies the publisher otherwise). If the newsletter or serial is published solely in electronic form, the publisher will remain exempt from mandatory deposit unless the Office issues a formal demand for copies of that publication.