Along with your form and the appropriate fee, you are required to file a copy
("sample" or "deposit") of the copyrighted work with the
Copyright Office. Generally, if the work is published, two copies of the
"best edition" are required. The nature of the sample depends upon the
nature of the work. The following information is drawn from Copyright Office
publications 7b and 40a.
Note that in all cases the deposit should show how the copyright notice is
applied to the work. That is, if you are filing the first and last 25 pages of a
computer program, be sure the copyright notice appears on one of the pages.
Similarly, a photograph of a sculpture should show the notice printed on the
MOTION PICTURES and other audiovisual works: One copy of the motion
picture PLUS a written description of its contents (shooting script,
continuity, press book or synopsis). Prefered formats are as follows:
- PRINTED TEXTUAL MATTER: One copy if unpublished, two copies of
"Best Edition" if published. See publication 7b for requirements of
"Best Edition" - basically, requires hard cover instead of soft,
illustrated instead of unillustrated, etc.
- PHOTOGRAPHS: One copy if unpublished, two if published. Samples should
be unmounted rather than mounted, Archival-quality if possible.
finish, in descending order of preference:
1. The most widely distributed
2. 8x10-inch glossy print;
3. Other size or finish.
If slides, should
be at least 35mm in mounts 3x3 inches or less.
- Other works of the visual arts:
material" is acceptable in some cases - see publication 40a.
- One copy if the work is not published.
- Two copies of published maps, artwork, drawings, illustrations,
paintings, posters, prints, brochures, or exhibit catalogs, and similar
- One copy of published advertisements, artwork for linens or wearing
apparel, blueprint or architectural or mechanical drawing or diagram, book
cover or record jacket, commercial print or label, contribution to collective
work, fabric, wallpaper, wrapping paper, fabric emblem or patch or decal or
heat transfer, greeting card, postcard, stationery, business card, calendar,
clothing pattern, needlework or craft kit, globe (including stand).
- "Identifying Material" is acceptable in place of an actual
copy of the work in some circumstances: If the work is only in machine
readable form, or is oversize (over 96" in any dimension), or is a
"limited edition" (published in less than 5 copies, or less than 300
copies if an individual author is the owner of copyright), three dimensional
works (except globes), games in containers larger than
12"x24"x6", fabric attached to three-dimensional objects (i.e.
furniture), artwork applied to three-dimensional objects (i.e. pictures on
mugs). Identifying material means photographs (prints or slides) showing the
work. Photographs should meet the same requirements and preferences listed
above for photographic works.
MUSICAL COMPOSITIONS: if the work exists only on sound recording (i.e.
has never been written down in musical notation), then see "phonorecords").
Otherwise, deposit two copies of work.
PHONORECORDS: The required deposit depends on whether or not the
phonorecord is being offered to register the underlying music or the
performance, or both. If only the music is being registered, and it only
exists on phonorecord, then only one copy is required (if the music exists in
written form, then the written score should be filed instead). In all other
cases two copies should be filed. Note that the copyright in the music and the
performance can only be recorded simultaneously if the author is the same.
- Film rather than another medium. Film editions in descending order of
preference: 1. Preprint material, by special arrangement; 2. Film gauge in
which most widely distributed; 3. 35 mm; 4. 16 mm; 5. 8 mm.; 6. Special
formats (e.g., 65mm) only in exceptional cases.
- Videotape rather than videodisc. Videotape editions in descending order
of preference: 1. Tape gauge in which most widely distributed; 2. Two-inch
tape; 3. One-inch tape; 4. Three-quarter-inch tape cassette; 5.
One-half-inch tape cassette (VHS rather than Beta).
Preferred media are, in decreasing order of preference:
A. Compact digital
B. Vinyl disc;
C. Open-reel tape;
D. Cartridge tape;
E. Cassette tape.
In terms of format, preferred are:
B. True stereophonic;
D. electronically rechanneled stereo.
Computer Programs: If the program source code is fifty pages or less,
deposit one copy of the complete listing. If it exceeds fifty pages, file the
first and last twenty-five pages, including at least one page showing the
Note: we generally recommend that clients file pages which
do not reveal trade secrets, since in today's modular programming the
definition of "first" and "last" is somewhat arbitrary. If
this is not possible, a certain amount of text may be blocked out without
problem. For more information consult Copyright Circular 61.
The Library of Congress may request a copy in machine-readable form, in
which case the following preferences apply:
With documents and other accompanying material rather than without;
Not copy-protected rather than copy-protected (if copy-protected then
with a back up copy of the disk(s));
PC-DOS or MS-DOS (or other IBM compatible formats, such as XENIX):
media, such as CD-ROM-best edition should adhere to prevailing NISO
standards; (ii) 5 1/4" Diskette(s); (iii) 3 1/2" Diskette(s);
Apple Macintosh: (i)Optical media such as CD-ROM-best edition should adhere to prevailing NISO
standards; (ii) 3 1/2" Diskette(s);
For the most up-to-date information on copyright samples, see the Copyright
Office's publication 7b
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