Industry & Advocacy News
August 13, 2020
Starting August 17, 2020, authors will be able to register the text of up to 50 “short online works” (such as blog posts or articles under 17,500 words) with the U.S. Copyright Office using a single registration application and with a single filing fee of $65. Previously, this option to register multiple works with one application and filing fee was only available for pieces that were unpublished or published as “contributions to periodicals”—namely newspapers, magazines, newsletters, or other “regularly scheduled” mediums. Online works and other works that did not fit the Office’s narrow definition of “contributions to periodicals” had to be registered individually, each with a separate filing fee of $35 or $55. The cost and effort required to register online works individually meant that writers did not register most online works and were deprived of the benefits of copyright registration, including statutory damages and attorneys’ fees.
The new group registration option for short online works confers a significant benefit on all writers working in the digital space, and is the result of two years of advocacy efforts by the Authors Guild and other author groups, who prompted it through a May 2018 joint request that the Office consider a new group registration option for short literary works. Our recommendations to the Copyright Office on a preliminary version of the rule were cited in the final rule and persuaded the Office to lower the minimum word count for qualifying works from 100 to 50 words, allow applicants to upload a large number of works in a single .ZIP file as opposed to individual files, and prioritize the creation of additional instructional materials for authors interested in registering their short online works.
Here is what applicants need to know about the new group registration option:
The Copyright Office has also provided resources and guides for authors, including an introduction to the new rule, a webinar presentation on the application process, and a set of frequently asked questions.
Authors Guild members can contact us for more information or help navigating the new application process. In addition, for a small fee that includes the filing fee and the Guild’s costs, our legal team can register on your behalf.