Group Registration of Updates to a News Website

The U.S. Copyright Office has established a new group registration option for frequently updated news websites. The option, known as Group Registration for Updates to a News Website or GRNW, will enable news publishers to register a group of updates to a news website as a collective work with a deposit composed of identifying material representing sufficient portions of the works included, rather than the complete contents of the website.

The rapid pace at which many web-based materials are created and updated presents a challenge for copyright owners seeking to protect online news works. News publishers have expressed concern that the registration options currently available to them are expensive and burdensome. The Office has engaged in a balancing of the desire for more usable registration options, the importance of an accurate public record, and the need for an efficient method of facilitating examination. After careful consideration, the Office has established this rule with the anticipation that it will lead to broader participation in the registration system.

Under the new group registration option, the group may include the initial version of the website published in the calendar month specified in the application along with subsequent updates published within the same month. To qualify, the website must be a “news website,” as defined by the Office, and the identifying material deposited must include a sufficiently original selection, coordination, and/or arrangement to constitute a copyrightable compilation. If the Office registers the claim, the registration certificate will include a notation that only the compilation authorship was examined.

The application for the GRNW registration option, as well as instructions for completing the application, is available now.