COPYRIGHT OFFICE OFFERS NEW GROUP REGISTRATION FOR SHORT ONLINE LITERARY WORKS
As of August 17, 2020, the Copyright Office has begun offering a new group registration option for short online literary works. This new registration option was initiated in response to a petition from certain industry groups “to accommodate works distributed online by individual writers, that would not qualify as contributions to periodicals” and address writers’ urgent need for a group registration option for “short pieces . . . including ‘blogs, public Facebook posts . . ., short articles, and even copyrightable tweets.’” Referred to as “GRTX” (Group Registration for Short Online Literary Works), this registration option allows authors to file one (1) application, paying only a single $65.00 filing fee, for a registration covering between two (2) and fifty (50) eligible works.
To be eligible for the GRTX application, each of the works at issue must: (1) be no less than fifty (50) and no more than seventeen thousand five hundred (17,500) words; (2) be first published as part of a website or other online platform such as an online newspaper, social media site, or social networking site; (3) have been published online within a consecutive three (3) month period; (4) be by the same author or joint authors; and (5) not be created as works made for hire. As the name implies, the registration claim in a GRTX application is limited to only the involved text. Thus, any other forms of authorship included with the relevant text will be excluded from the scope of the registration (although such content may be separately registrable). Other works not appropriate for registration under the new GRTX option include websites or online platforms, emails, podcasts, audiobooks, computer programs, compilations, or collective works. Additionally, if the works at issue were first published in physical form, they are ineligible. However, simultaneous publication both online and in physical form is acceptable.
A GRTX registration covers the copyrightable text in each work separately. Accordingly, a copyright owner pursuing an infringement claim may seek separate damages for each individual work infringed. This is similar to the group registration for published photographs (“GRPPH”) and group registration for unpublished photographs (“GRUPH”) rules and procedures established back in January 2018.
More information about the new GRTX registration is available on the Copyright Office’s website at https://www.copyright.gov/grtx/.
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