Group Registration of Short Online Literary Works, 65612-65617 [2018-27543]

Download as PDF 65612 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 245 / Friday, December 21, 2018 / Proposed Rules For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 110 as follows: PART 110—ANCHORAGE REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 110 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 33 U.S.C. 471, 1221 through 1236, 2071; 33 CFR 1.05–1; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1. 2. In § 110.196, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows: ■ § 110.196 Sabine Pass Channel, Sabine Pass, TX. (a) The anchorage area. The water bounded by a line connecting the following coordinates: Latitude 29°43′59.0″ 29°44′06.8″ 29°43′53.0″ 29°43′36.7″ N N N N * * * Longitude 93°52′08.1″ 93°51′57.6″ 93°51′47.1″ 93°51′50.9″ * W W W W * Dated: December 3, 2018. Paul F. Thomas, Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District. [FR Doc. 2018–27699 Filed 12–20–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–04–P LIBRARY OF CONGRESS Copyright Office 37 CFR Part 202 [Docket No. 2018–12] work. The Office will examine each work to determine if it contains a sufficient amount of creative authorship, and if the Office registers the claim, the registration will cover each work as a separate work of authorship. The Office invites comment on this proposal. DATES: Comments must be made in writing and must be received in the U.S. Copyright Office no later than February 19, 2019. ADDRESSES: For reasons of government efficiency, the Copyright Office is using the regulations.gov system for the submission and posting of public comments in this proceeding. All comments are therefore to be submitted electronically through regulations.gov. Specific instructions for submitting comments are available on the Copyright Office website at https:// www.copyright.gov/rulemaking/ shortonline-literaryworks. If electronic submission of comments is not feasible due to lack of access to a computer and/or the internet, please contact the Office using the contact information below for special instructions. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Regan A. Smith, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights; Robert J. Kasunic, Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Registration Policy and Practice; Erik Bertin, Deputy Director of Registration Policy and Practice; or Cindy Paige Abramson, Assistant General Counsel, by telephone at 202–707–8040, or by email at regans@ copyright.gov, rkas@copright.gov, ebertin@copyright.gov, and ciab@ copyright.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Group Registration of Short Online Literary Works I. Background U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: The U.S. Copyright Office is proposing to create a new group registration option for certain types of literary works. To qualify for this option, each work must contain at least 100 but no more than 17,500 words. The works must be created by the same individual, and that individual must be named as the copyright claimant for each work. The works must all be published online within a threecalendar-month period. If these requirements have been met, the applicant may submit up to 50 works with one application and one filing fee. The applicant must complete the online application designated for a ‘‘literary work’’ and upload a digital copy of each amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with PROPOSALS1 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:38 Dec 20, 2018 Jkt 247001 When Congress enacted the Copyright Act, it authorized the Register to specify by regulation the administrative classes of works for the purpose of seeking a registration and the deposit required for each class. Congress also gave the Register the discretion to allow groups of related works to be registered with one application and one filing fee.1 This procedure is known as group registration.2 As the legislative history explains, allowing ‘‘a number of related works to be registered together as a group represent[ed] a needed and important liberalization of the law.’’ 3 Congress recognized that requiring separate applications ‘‘where related works . . . are published separately’’ may impose ‘‘unnecessary burdens and expenses on authors.’’ 4 Congress provided ‘‘a group of poems by a single author’’ as one example of ‘‘a group of related works’’ that would be suitable for group registration.5 When large numbers of literary works are included in one submission, however, information about each work may not be adequately captured. Therefore, group registration options require careful balancing of the need for an accurate public record and the need for an efficient method of facilitating the examination of each work. II. Petition for Rulemaking This proposed rulemaking stems from a petition submitted in response to an earlier rulemaking. On December 1, 2016 the Office initiated a rulemaking to update the regulation that governs the group registration option for contributions to periodicals (‘‘GRCP’’).6 In its proposal, the Office explained that GRCP may be used to register works that are first published in a periodical.7 For purposes of registration, a ‘‘periodical’’ is defined as a collective work that is published on an established schedule in successive issues that are intended to be continued indefinitely, such as a newspaper, magazine, newsletter, and other similar works.8 The Office explained that an electronic publication could be considered a periodical if it is fixed and distributed online or via email as a self-contained work, such as a digital version of a tangible newspaper, magazine, or newsletter.9 But works that are first published on a website cannot be registered under GRCP, because websites are typically updated on a continual basis, the updates are not distributed as discrete, self-contained issues, and they do not contain numerical or chronological designations that distinguish one update from the next. As such, websites are not considered ‘‘periodicals’’ for purposes of registration.10 In responding to the proposed rule for GRCP, the National Writers Union (NWU), the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA), and the Horror Writers Association (HWA) (collectively ‘‘Petitioners’’) jointly submitted a petition for a rulemaking to create a new 4 Id. 5 Id. 6 81 1 See 17 U.S.C. 408(c)(1). 2 See generally 37 CFR 202.3(b)(5), 202.4. 3 H.R. Rep. No. 94–1476, at 154 (1976), reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5659, 5770. PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 FR 86634 (Dec. 1, 2016). at 86635. 8 See 37 CFR 202.4(b)(3). 9 See 81 FR at 86638–39. 10 See id. at 86639. 7 Id. E:\FR\FM\21DEP1.SGM 21DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 245 / Friday, December 21, 2018 / Proposed Rules amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with PROPOSALS1 group registration option to accommodate works distributed online by individual writers, that would not qualify as contributions to periodicals.11 According to the petition, individual writers distribute more of their work ‘‘in electronic format on the World Wide Web than in any other format or through any other distribution channel.’’ 12 Writers routinely create ‘‘granular’’ content that is distributed on websites, blogs, social media platforms, and other internet publications.13 They also create and distribute online other ‘‘short-form works,’’ such as poems, short stories, ‘‘flash’’ fiction, short-form ebooks, essays, articles, pamphlets, tracts, and research reports.14 Petitioners stated that registration is ‘‘effectively unavailable’’ for writers who create ‘‘granular or frequently updated works [that are] distributed electronically, including virtually all Web and social media content.’’ 15 They stated that websites, blogs, and social media platforms are typically updated on a daily basis. To register the works that are distributed on these sites, a writer would need to complete and submit a separate application every day, which would be ‘‘prohibitively costly and time-consuming.’’ 16 To address these issues, the Petitioners asked the Office to create a new group registration procedure for ‘‘short-form works’’ which would allow individual writers to submit one ‘‘application and fee every three months.’’ 17 The Authors Guild, the Association of Garden Communicators (GWA), the Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Songwriters Guild of America (SGA), and the Textbook & Academic Authors Association endorsed this petition.18 They stated that writers ‘‘urgently need a group registration [option] for short pieces, especially those disseminated 11 See NWU et al. Comments and Petition for Rulemaking at 4 (Jan. 30, 2017) (the ‘‘Petition’’), https://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer ?documentId=COLC-2016-0013-0003&attachment Number=1&contentType=pdf. 12 Petition at 10. 13 See id. at 4, 9. 14 See id. at 11. 15 Id. at 4. 16 See id. at 4, 10. 17 Id. at 13–14. The Petition echoed a similar request which was submitted in a previous rulemaking by the NWU, ASJA, and the Western Writers of America. See NWU et al. Comment on Mandatory Deposit of Electronic Books and Sound Recordings Available Only Online at 3–4, 8–10, 17– 19 (Aug. 18, 2016), https://www.regulations.gov/ contentStreamer?documentId=COLC-2016-00050009&attachmentNumber=1&contentType=pdf. 18 Authors Guild et al. Comment at 8–9 (Nov. 17, 2017), https://www.regulations.gov/content Streamer?documentId=COLC-2017-0009-0108& attachmentNumber=1&contentType=pdf. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:38 Dec 20, 2018 Jkt 247001 online,’’ including ‘‘blogs, public Facebook posts . . ., short articles, and even copyrightable tweets.’’ 19 In response, when closing the rulemaking for the GRCP registration option, the Office stated that it would consider the Petitioners’ requests and ‘‘take them into account when developing its priorities for future upgrades to the electronic registration system.’’ 20 On May 8, 2018 the Office met with representatives from NWU, SFWA, ASJA, and the Authors Guild to discuss the Petition. Following discussions with the Authors Guild, the Office presently understands that the Petitioners would support a rule that provides for the registration of up to 50 literary works per quarter and up to 100 works per year. The Office understands Petitioners’ position is that the rule should apply to articles, short stories, essays, opinion pieces, columns, blog entries, cartoons, Facebook posts, or other literary works that contain at least 50 words and no more than 40,000 words, that are published as part of a website or online platform, but exclusive of advertising copy, computer programs, and emails. III. The Proposed Rule After considering the petition for rulemaking, the Office finds there is a legitimate need for a new group registration option for ‘‘short online literary works,’’ to be known as ‘‘GRTX.’’ Under the proposed rule, an applicant will be able to register up to 50 literary works with one application and one filing fee. Each work must contain at least 100 words but no more than 17,500 words. The works must be created by the same individual and that individual must be named as the copyright claimant for each work. The works must be published on a website or online platform within a threecalendar-month period. Each of these requirements is discussed below. A. Eligibility Requirements Due to the number of works available in this group registration option, along with the complexity of reviewing copyrightability of short-form works, the Office will strictly apply all of the eligibility requirements. To facilitate compliance with the requirements, the Office will provide a checklist in the 19 See id. On November 13, 2017 the Petitioners renewed their request and reiterated that it ‘‘remains prohibitively costly and time-consuming to register . . . most written work distributed online.’’ NWU et al. Comment and Renewed Petition for Rulemaking at 4–6 (Nov. 13, 2017), https://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer ?documentId=COLC-2017-0009-0072&attachment Number=1&contentType=pdf. 20 82 FR 29410, 29412 (June 29, 2017). PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 65613 instructions from the Office, such as in a circular, Compendium update, or web page. Applicants must be certain to adhere to the requirements 1. Works That May Be Included in the Group A ‘‘literary work’’ is defined by statute as a work ‘‘expressed in words, numbers, or other verbal or numerical symbols or indicia, regardless of the nature of the material objects . . . in which [it is] embodied.’’ 21 The Office’s regulations provide representative examples of works that typically fit within this category, such as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and other types of textual works.22 To qualify for this group registration option, a work must contain sufficient words. A work comprised mainly of numbers, or other verbal or numerical symbols or indicia, will not qualify under this option. The Office will accept deposit copies that contain text combined with another form of authorship. But claims in any accompanying ‘‘artwork,’’ ‘‘photograph,’’ or any form of authorship other than ‘‘text’’ will not be permitted on the application. Examining and cataloging a work that contains multiple forms of authorship requires a significant amount of time and effort. Given the number of works that may be included in each claim, the Office needs to limit the administrative burden that this option will impose on the Literary Division. Therefore, if an applicant asserts a claim in ‘‘text’’ and another form of authorship, the examiner may remove the unacceptable authorship statement(s) from the application and add an annotation describing the change, or the examiner may simply refuse registration for the group. For purposes of registration a ‘‘short’’ online literary work will be defined as a work that contains at least 100 words and no more than 17,500 words. The proposed rule provides representative examples of works that typically fit within this range, such as poems, short stories, articles, essays, columns, blog entries, and social media posts. The 100-word threshold is intended to exclude short phrases and slogans, because they are not eligible for copyright protection, and other short forms of expression that contain less than a paragraph of text.23 While in some cases these types of works may have enough creativity to warrant registration, in other cases they may contain only a de minimis amount of 21 17 U.S.C. 101. 37 CFR 202.3(b)(1)(i). 23 37 CFR 202.1(a). 22 See E:\FR\FM\21DEP1.SGM 21DEP1 65614 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 245 / Friday, December 21, 2018 / Proposed Rules amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with PROPOSALS1 expression. Examining an extremely short work requires careful review and each determination must be made on a case by case basis. It is not feasible to conduct this level of analysis when dozens of works are included within the same claim. The 17,500-word limit is intended to exclude novels, novellas, or other lengthy works. In drawing the line between ‘‘short’’ and ‘‘long’’ literary works, the Office considered the word counts specified by the prestigious Hugo, Nebula, and Shirley Jackson awards.24 The sponsors of these awards classify a ‘‘short story’’ as a work that contains less than 7,500 words and a ‘‘novelette’’ as a work that contains between 7,500 and 17,500 words. The sponsors define a ‘‘novella’’ as a work that contains between 17,500 and 40,000 words,25 and a ‘‘novel’’ as a work that contains more than 40,000 words.26 The Petitioners stated that writers are unable to register granular, frequently updated works that are distributed on websites and social media platforms on a daily basis.27 But they did not provide a compelling reason for creating a similar group registration option for novels, novellas, or other lengthy works of authorship. Such works are more likely to require significant time to create and do not lend themselves to a rapid and continuous publication schedule. Indeed, it seems unlikely that even a prolific author would be able to write, edit, and publish 50 ‘‘long-form’’ works within a three-month period. If a particular work appears to be less than 100 words, the examiner may perform a word count, and if it falls below the 100-word threshold, the examiner may refuse registration for the group. Similarly, the examiner will refuse registration for the group if any work is found to exceed the 17,500word limit. 24 See Hugo Award Categories, The Hugo Awards, http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-categories/; Nebula Rules, Nebula Awards: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (Nov. 15, 2018), https:// nebulas.sfwa.org/about-the-nebulas/nebula-rules/; Award Rules, The Shirley Jackson Awards, https:// www.shirleyjacksonawards.org/rules. 25 Works of this length include Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, and John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. See, e.g., Word Counts and Other Distractions, Griffin Paul Jackson (July 25, 2013), https:// griffinpauljackson.com/2013/07/25/book-wordcounts/; Lawrence J. Epstein, Word Counts in Novels, The Best American Poetry: Blog (Mar. 20, 2016), https://blog.bestamericanpoetry.com/the_ best_american_poetry/2016/03/word-counts-innovels-by-lawrence-j-epstein.html. 26 Works of this length include Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. Id. 27 See Petition at 4. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:38 Dec 20, 2018 Jkt 247001 A work will be considered an ‘‘online’’ literary work if it was first published on the internet. This requirement may be satisfied, for example, if copies of the work were first distributed to the public as part of a website or online platform.28 Likewise, a work may be eligible for this option if copies were simultaneously published both on the internet and in a physical form. By contrast, a work would not be eligible for GRTX if copies have been distributed solely in a physical form, or if copies were first published in a physical form and then subsequently published online. 2. Number of Works That May Be Included in the Group Under the proposed rule, an applicant will be allowed to include up to 50 literary works in each submission. The examiner will review each individual work for copyrightable authorship, and if the claim is approved, the registration will cover each work on a separate basis. If an applicant submits more than 50 works, the examiner may accept the first 50 works listed in the application or the examiner may refuse registration for the group. As discussed below, applicants will be required to submit their claims through the existing registration system. The Office does not currently have the ability to charge differential prices based on the number of works in the group or the complexity of the claim. Given the technical limitations of the current system and the modest filing fee for this option, the Office must impose some limit on the total number of works that may be included in each claim, to manage the administrative burden that this option will impose on the Literary Division. After consulting with the Petitioners, the Office has determined that a limit of 50 works represents an appropriate balance between the interests of the writers and the administrative capabilities of the Office.29 While each application is 28 Because each work must be published ‘‘as part’’ of a website or online platform, the website or platform itself would not be eligible for this option. The Office intends to address website registrations in a separate Federal Register notice. See 83 FR 52336, 52337 (Oct. 17, 2018). Similarly, the Office intends to address publication with respect to the internet, for purposes of registration, in a separate proceeding. 29 The Office will not accept claims involving a compilation, collective work, or database, because they often contain multiple works of authorship. Likewise, this option may not be used to register podcasts or audiobooks, because they contain two works (namely, a sound recording and the literary work embodied in that recording). These types of works also take more time to examine than traditional literary works, because each recording must be opened, buffered, and played to determine if it is eligible for registration. PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 limited to 50 works, there is no limit as to how many applications can be submitted. 3. Title Information The applicant will be required to provide a title for each work in the group, and a title for the group as a whole. The group title will be used to identify the registration in the online public record. The Office will accept any title that reasonably identifies the group. For example, the applicant may provide a title that describes the general subject matter of the works, such as ‘‘Poems, essays, and other reflections on Czech culture and cuisine,’’ or a title that includes the author’s name, type of works, and publication dates, such as ‘‘Drew McAlister’s Facebook Posts May through July 2018.’’ In all cases, the applicant will be required to append the term ‘‘GRTX’’ to the beginning of the group title, so that the Office can identify the claim and assign it to an appropriate member of the Literary Division. 4. Author and Claimant Under the proposed rule, all of the works must be created by the same individual. Applicants will not be allowed to submit groups of works created by different authors (such as 25 essays by Carlos Martinez and 25 poems by Rena Martinez). Likewise, the Office will not accept applications claiming that two or more authors jointly created one or more of the works in the group. We would like to hear from commenters as to whether they anticipate any issues with this proposed limitation. The new group registration option is intended to benefit individual writers who publish their works on the internet, but do not have the time or resources to register their works with the Office. This is less of a concern for corporate authors or authors who are hired to create a work for another party. Therefore, the proposed rule expressly states that works made for hire cannot be registered with GRTX.30 The proposed rule states that in all cases, the author must be named as the copyright claimant, even if a different party actually owns the copyright in each work. If the names provided in the author and claimant fields do not match each other, the examiner may remove the claimant’s name and replace it with the author’s name or the examiner may simply refuse registration. This will improve the efficiency of the 30 In this respect, the proposed rule is similar to the statutory and regulatory provisions that govern the group registration option for contributions to periodicals. See 17 U.S.C. 408(c)(3); 37 CFR 202.4(g)(1), (3). E:\FR\FM\21DEP1.SGM 21DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 245 / Friday, December 21, 2018 / Proposed Rules examination process by allowing the Office to focus on the copyrightability of each work. It is also consistent with the basic principle that an author may always be named as the copyright claimant, even if she does not own any of the exclusive rights when the claim is submitted.31 See Compendium sec. 619.7 (citing 42 FR 48944, 48945 (Sept. 26, 1977)). We would like to hear from commenters as to whether they anticipate any issues with this proposed limitation. 5. Publication Information amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with PROPOSALS1 As mentioned above, an applicant will be allowed to register a group of short literary works if the works were first published as part of a website or online platform. The works may be published on the same site or different sites, but they must be published within a three-calendar-month period.32 If the works were published on the same date, the applicant should provide that date in the application. If the works were published on different dates, the applicant should identify the first date that the works were published; the Office will assume that the rest of the works were published on that date or within three months thereafter. Claims with a range of publication dates outside of a three-calendar-month period will be refused, and if any works are later determined to be published outside of the three-month calendar period the registration may be cancelled. See 37 CFR 202.4(l), (m). The GRTX group option may only be used to register published works. This option cannot be used to register a group of unpublished literary works.33 Likewise, applicants will not be allowed to combine published and unpublished works in the same claim. The Copyright Act requires applicants to separately 31 If the author transferred the copyright to another person or entity, the copyright owner may add that information to the public record by recording the bill of sale, exclusive license, or other document that identifies the current owner of each work. 32 In this respect, the proposed rule is similar to the regulations that govern the group registration options for automated databases, serials, and secure test items. See 37 CFR 202.3(b)(5)(i)(F), 202.4(f)(1)(v), 202.13(d)(4). 33 The Office recently announced that it intends to create a new group registration option for unpublished works, which will be known as ‘‘GRUW.’’ The Office also intends to release a new application form that will be specifically designed for these types of claims. See 82 FR 47415 (Oct. 12, 2017). The Office expects to issue a final rule in the GRUW rulemaking before the proposed rule on GRTX goes into effect. If an applicant attempts to register a group of unpublished works under GRTX, the Office will instruct the applicant to resubmit the claim using the designated form for GRUW, which will require an additional filing fee and result in a later effective date of registration. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:38 Dec 20, 2018 Jkt 247001 identify published and unpublished works for purposes of registration, and this requirement cannot be changed without amending the law.34 B. Application Requirements Ordinarily, when the Office creates a new group registration option, it develops a corresponding application form to collect the information needed for that type of claim.35 But the Office is beginning to work on the technical requirements for its next-generation registration system, and it does not intend to conduct any further development on the current system. In the interim, claims submitted under a new group registration option for short online literary works will need to be adapted to fit within the registration system as it currently exists. Under the proposed rule, applicants will be required to submit their claims through the electronic registration system and they will be required to use the Standard Application designated for a ‘‘Literary Work.’’ 36 Further instructions on how to complete this application will be provided by the Office through traditional avenues, including its website, circulars, or Chapter 1100 of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices. Recently the Office amended its regulations to require other group registration claims to be filed electronically, and the rationales requiring electronic submission of applications provided in those rulemakings apply equally here.37 Moreover, GRTX may only be used to register literary works that have been published as part of a website or online platform. It is reasonable to assume that individuals who create and publish these types of works will have access to the internet and will be capable of using the electronic registration system to register their claims.38 34 17 U.S.C. 409(8). e.g., 37 CFR 202.4(d)(2), (e)(5), (f)(2), (g)(6), (h)(8), (i)(8). 36 As the label suggests, this application is designed for registering one literary work, rather than a group of related works. 37 See, e.g., 82 FR 29410, 29410–11 (June 29, 2017) (final rule for contributions to periodicals explaining policy considerations supporting onlineonly registration); 82 FR 51369, 51374 (Nov. 6, 2017) (proposed rule for group newspapers); 83 FR 22896, 22899–900 (May 17, 2018) (proposed rule for group serials); 83 FR 22902, 22905 (May 17, 2018) (proposed rule for group newsletters). 38 Likewise, the online-filing requirement will apply to the ‘‘supplementary registration’’ procedure, which may be used to correct or amplify the information in an existing registration. The Office has announced that if it moves ‘‘registrations for other classes of works into the electronic registration system,’’ the procedure for correcting or amplifying those registrations would ‘‘be subject to this same [online filing] requirement.’’ 81 FR 86656, 35 See, PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 65615 The Office will not accept claims submitted on a paper application. If an applicant attempts to use a paper form, the Office will refuse registration and instruct the applicant to resubmit the claim on the Standard Application, which will require a new filing fee and result in a later effective date of registration. But as with the other rules mentioned above,39 the proposed rule would allow the Office to waive this online filing requirement in exceptional cases. If a particular author does not have internet access or is unable to use the Standard Application, the applicant could request a waiver in writing. The Office would review each request and would make appropriate accommodations for applicants who receive an approved waiver. To be sure, since this group registration option involves works that were necessarily published online, the Office expects there to be few, if any, exceptional cases necessitating waiver of this requirement. The applicant must submit a sequentially numbered list containing a title/file name for each work in the group. The list must also include the publication date and word count for each work. The numbered list must be contained in an electronic file in Excel format (.xls), Portable Document Format (PDF), or other electronic format approved by the Office, and the file name for the list must contain the title of the group and the case number assigned to the application by the electronic registration system (e.g., ‘‘Title Of Group Case Number 16283927239.xls’’). C. Deposit Requirements Under the proposed rule, applicants will be required to submit one complete copy of each work in the group. The copies must be uploaded to the electronic registration system in a digital file, each file must be submitted in one of the acceptable file formats listed on the Office’s website, such as PDF, and all of the files must be submitted in the same format.40 Because this option may only be used to register works that have been published online, it is reasonable to assume that authors will be able to upload their works to the electronic system. Thus, the Office generally will not accept physical 86658 (Dec. 1, 2016). Thus, if an applicant needs to correct or amplify the information in a registration for a group of short online literary works, that request will need to be submitted through the electronic registration system, instead of using a paper form. See 37 CFR 202.6(e)(1). 39 See, e.g., 37 CFR 202.4(g)(9), (h)(11), (i)(11), 202.6(e)(7). 40 The list of acceptable formats is available at http://copyright.gov/eco/help-file-types.html. E:\FR\FM\21DEP1.SGM 21DEP1 65616 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 245 / Friday, December 21, 2018 / Proposed Rules copies, such as print-outs, or digital copies that have been saved onto an electronic storage device, such as a disc or thumb drive.41 The copies must be submitted in an orderly manner. A submission will be considered ‘‘orderly’’ if the applicant uploads each work in a separate digital file. The Office will not accept multiple works within the same digital file because of the burden on the examiner in distinguishing one work from the next. The file name for each work must match the corresponding title entered on the application so that the examiner can easily verify that the correct works were uploaded. The upload should contain no more than 50 files representing 50 complete works. If more than 50 files are uploaded, the examiner may refuse registration for the group. D. Filing Fee The filing fee for this option will be $55, which is the fee that currently applies to any claim submitted on the Standard Application. The Office recently issued a proposal to increase this fee from $55 to $75.42 If that proposal is adopted, the new fee will apply to any claim submitted on the Standard Application, including claims involving short online literary works. As mentioned above, the Office does not have the ability to charge differential prices when multiple works are submitted on the Standard Application. However, the Office will consider this issue as it begins to develop the technical and legal requirements for its next-generation registration system.43 amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with PROPOSALS1 E. The Scope of a Group Registration As mentioned above, the Office will review each work to determine if it contains a sufficient amount of original, creative authorship. If the legal and formal requirements have been met, the examiner will register the claim and will add an annotation to the certificate indicating that the works were registered in accordance with the eligibility requirements for GRTX.44 Under the proposed rule, a group registration will cover each work in the 41 If an applicant is unable to upload a particular work to the system, the applicant may request special relief from the deposit requirements under 37 CFR 202.20(d)(1)(iii)–(iv). The Office will consider these requests on a case-by-case basis. See Compendium sec. 1508.8. 42 83 FR 25054, 24057 (May 24, 2018). 43 See 83 FR 52336, 52339 (Oct. 17, 2018). 44 If the examiner determines that one or more of the works is not copyrightable, the examiner will require the applicant to exclude that work from the claim. If the applicant disagrees with that assessment, the applicant may resubmit that work on an individual basis (which will require a new application, deposit, and filing fee) and then appeal the subsequent refusal. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:38 Dec 20, 2018 Jkt 247001 group and each work will be considered to be registered as a separate work.45 Thus, if any of the works are subsequently infringed, the copyright owner should be entitled to seek a separate award of statutory damages for each individual work.46 By contrast, the group itself is merely an administrative classification created solely for the purpose of registering multiple literary works with one application and one filing fee. Therefore, claims in the selection, coordination, or arrangement of the group as a whole will not be permitted on the application, and the group will not be considered a compilation or a collective work for purposes of sections 101, 103(b), or 504(c)(1) of the Copyright Act. IV. Conclusion The proposed rule will encourage broader participation in the registration system by establishing a new group registration option for individual writers who publish their works on the internet. The Office invites public comments on this proposal. * * * * * List of Subjects in 37 CFR Part 202 Copyright. Proposed Regulation For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Copyright Office proposes amending 37 CFR part 202 as follows: PART 202—PREREGISTRATION AND REGISTRATION OF CLAIMS TO COPYRIGHT 1. The authority citation for part 202 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 17 U.S.C. 408(f), 702. 2. Amend § 202.4 as follows: a. Add paragraph (j). b. In paragraph (n) remove ‘‘paragraph (g), (h), (i), or (k)’’ and add in their place ‘‘paragraphs (g) through (k)’’. The addition reads as follows: ■ ■ ■ § 202.4 Group Registration. * * * * * (j) Group registration of short online literary works. Pursuant to the authority granted by 17 U.S.C. 408(c)(2), the Register of Copyrights has determined that a group of literary works may be registered in Class TX with one application, the required deposit, and the filing fee required by § 201.3(c) if the following conditions are met: (1) The group may include up to 50 short online literary works. For 45 See 37 CFR 202.4(n). 17 U.S.C. 504(c)(1) (authorizing a separate award of statutory damages ‘‘with respect to any one work’’). 46 See PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 purposes of this section, a short online literary work is a work consisting of text that contains at least 100 words and no more than 17,500 words, such as a poem, short story, article, essay, column, blog entry, or social media post. The work must be published as part of a website or online platform, including online newspapers, social media websites, and social networking platforms. The group may not include computer programs, audiobooks, podcasts, or emails. Claims in any form of authorship other than ‘‘text’’ or claims in the selection, coordination, or arrangement of the group as a whole will not be permitted on the application. (2) All of the works must be published within a three-calendar-month period, and the application must identify the earliest date that the works were published. (3) All the works must be created by the same individual and that individual must be named as the copyright claimant for each work in the group. (4) The works must not be works made for hire and must not be works of joint authorship. (5) The applicant must provide a title for each work and a title for the group as a whole, and must append the term ‘‘GRTX’’ to the beginning of the group title. (6) The applicant must complete and submit the Standard Application designated for a ‘‘Literary Work.’’ The application may be submitted by any of the parties listed in § 202.3(c)(1). (7) The applicant must submit one complete copy of each work. The works must be assembled in an orderly form with each work in a separate digital file, they all must be submitted in one of the electronic formats approved by the Office, and they must be uploaded to the electronic registration system in no more than 50 files and representing no more than 50 complete works. The file name for each work must match the title as submitted on the application. The file size for each uploaded file must not exceed 500 megabytes; the files may be compressed to comply with this requirement. (8) The applicant must submit a sequentially numbered list containing a title/file name for each work in the group. The list must also include the publication date and word count for each work. The numbered list must be contained in an electronic file in Excel format (.xls), Portable Document Format (PDF), or other electronic format approved by the Office, and the file name for the list must contain the title of the group and the case number assigned to the application by the electronic registration system (e.g., E:\FR\FM\21DEP1.SGM 21DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 245 / Friday, December 21, 2018 / Proposed Rules ‘‘Title Of Group Case Number 16283927239.xls’’). (9) In an exceptional case, the Copyright Office may waive the online filing requirement set forth in paragraph (j)(6) of this section or may grant special relief from the deposit requirement under § 202.20(d), subject to such conditions as the Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of the Office of Registration Policy and Practice may impose on the applicant. * * * * * Dated: December 17, 2018. Regan A. Smith, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights. [FR Doc. 2018–27543 Filed 12–20–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1410–30–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA–RO5–OAR–2018–0302; EPA–RO5– OAR–2018–0303; EPA–R05–OAR–2018– 0589; FRL–9988–03–Region 5] FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Air Plan Approval; Illinois; NAAQS and VOC Updates Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve revised rules submitted by the State of Illinois as State Implementation Plan (SIP) revisions. The submitted rules update Illinois ambient air quality rules to update definitions and requirements for handling monitoring data influenced by exceptional events, implementation rules for the 2012 primary annual National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and designated reference and equivalent methods for multiple NAAQS. In addition, the submitted rules amend the Illinois Administrative Code (IAC) by updating the definition of volatile organic compounds (VOC). DATES: Comments must be received on or before January 22, 2019. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA R05 OAR 2018–0302, EPA–RO5–OAR– 2018–0303, or EPA–RO5–OAR–2018– 0589 at http://www.regulations.gov, or via email to aburano.douglas@epa.gov. For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, EPA amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with PROPOSALS1 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:38 Dec 20, 2018 Jkt 247001 may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/ commenting-epa-dockets. Samantha Panock, Physical Scientist, Attainment Planning and Maintenance Section, Air Programs Branch (AR–18J), Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604, (312) 353–8973, panock.samantha@epa.gov. In the Final Rules section of this Federal Register, EPA is approving the State’s SIP submittal as a direct final rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a noncontroversial submittal and anticipates no adverse comments. A detailed rationale for the approval is set forth in the direct final rule. If no relevant adverse comments are received in response to this rule, no further activity is contemplated. If EPA receives such comments, the direct final rule will be withdrawn and all public comments received will be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule. EPA will not institute a second comment period. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at this time. Please note that if EPA receives adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, EPA may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment. For additional information, see the direct final rule which is located in the Rules section of this Federal Register. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 65617 Dated: December 3, 2018. Cathy Stepp, Regional Administrator, Region 5. [FR Doc. 2018–27609 Filed 12–20–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 60 [EPA–HQ–OAR–2013–0495; FRL–9988–16– OAR] RIN 2060–AT56 Review of Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions From New, Modified, and Reconstructed Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Notice of public hearing. AGENCY: On December 6, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator signed a proposed rule titled ‘‘Review of Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units.’’ The EPA is announcing that it will hold a public hearing on the proposed action. The hearing will provide interested parties the opportunity to present data, views, or arguments concerning the proposed action. DATES: The EPA will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, in Washington, DC. Please refer to the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for additional information on the public hearing. ADDRESSES: The hearing will be held at the EPA WJC East Building, 1201 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 1153, Washington, DC 20004. The hearing will convene at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) and will conclude at 7:00 p.m. EST. Because this hearing is being held at a U.S. government facility, individuals planning to attend the hearing should be prepared to show valid picture identification to the security staff to gain access to the meeting room. Please note that the REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, established new requirements for entering federal facilities. For purposes of the REAL ID Act, the EPA will accept governmentissued IDs, including driver’s licenses from the District of Columbia and all states and territories. Acceptable alternative forms of identification include: Federal employee badges, SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\21DEP1.SGM 21DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 245 (Friday, December 21, 2018)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 65612-65617]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-27543]


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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Copyright Office

37 CFR Part 202

[Docket No. 2018-12]


Group Registration of Short Online Literary Works

AGENCY: U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Copyright Office is proposing to create a new group 
registration option for certain types of literary works. To qualify for 
this option, each work must contain at least 100 but no more than 
17,500 words. The works must be created by the same individual, and 
that individual must be named as the copyright claimant for each work. 
The works must all be published online within a three-calendar-month 
period. If these requirements have been met, the applicant may submit 
up to 50 works with one application and one filing fee. The applicant 
must complete the online application designated for a ``literary work'' 
and upload a digital copy of each work. The Office will examine each 
work to determine if it contains a sufficient amount of creative 
authorship, and if the Office registers the claim, the registration 
will cover each work as a separate work of authorship. The Office 
invites comment on this proposal.

DATES: Comments must be made in writing and must be received in the 
U.S. Copyright Office no later than February 19, 2019.

ADDRESSES: For reasons of government efficiency, the Copyright Office 
is using the regulations.gov system for the submission and posting of 
public comments in this proceeding. All comments are therefore to be 
submitted electronically through regulations.gov. Specific instructions 
for submitting comments are available on the Copyright Office website 
at https://www.copyright.gov/rulemaking/shortonline-literaryworks. If 
electronic submission of comments is not feasible due to lack of access 
to a computer and/or the internet, please contact the Office using the 
contact information below for special instructions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Regan A. Smith, General Counsel and 
Associate Register of Copyrights; Robert J. Kasunic, Associate Register 
of Copyrights and Director of Registration Policy and Practice; Erik 
Bertin, Deputy Director of Registration Policy and Practice; or Cindy 
Paige Abramson, Assistant General Counsel, by telephone at 202-707-
8040, or by email at regans@copyright.gov, rkas@copright.gov, 
ebertin@copyright.gov, and ciab@copyright.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    When Congress enacted the Copyright Act, it authorized the Register 
to specify by regulation the administrative classes of works for the 
purpose of seeking a registration and the deposit required for each 
class. Congress also gave the Register the discretion to allow groups 
of related works to be registered with one application and one filing 
fee.\1\ This procedure is known as group registration.\2\
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    \1\ See 17 U.S.C. 408(c)(1).
    \2\ See generally 37 CFR 202.3(b)(5), 202.4.
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    As the legislative history explains, allowing ``a number of related 
works to be registered together as a group represent[ed] a needed and 
important liberalization of the law.'' \3\ Congress recognized that 
requiring separate applications ``where related works . . . are 
published separately'' may impose ``unnecessary burdens and expenses on 
authors.'' \4\ Congress provided ``a group of poems by a single 
author'' as one example of ``a group of related works'' that would be 
suitable for group registration.\5\ When large numbers of literary 
works are included in one submission, however, information about each 
work may not be adequately captured. Therefore, group registration 
options require careful balancing of the need for an accurate public 
record and the need for an efficient method of facilitating the 
examination of each work.
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    \3\ H.R. Rep. No. 94-1476, at 154 (1976), reprinted in 1976 
U.S.C.C.A.N. 5659, 5770.
    \4\ Id.
    \5\ Id.
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II. Petition for Rulemaking

    This proposed rulemaking stems from a petition submitted in 
response to an earlier rulemaking. On December 1, 2016 the Office 
initiated a rulemaking to update the regulation that governs the group 
registration option for contributions to periodicals (``GRCP'').\6\ In 
its proposal, the Office explained that GRCP may be used to register 
works that are first published in a periodical.\7\ For purposes of 
registration, a ``periodical'' is defined as a collective work that is 
published on an established schedule in successive issues that are 
intended to be continued indefinitely, such as a newspaper, magazine, 
newsletter, and other similar works.\8\ The Office explained that an 
electronic publication could be considered a periodical if it is fixed 
and distributed online or via email as a self-contained work, such as a 
digital version of a tangible newspaper, magazine, or newsletter.\9\ 
But works that are first published on a website cannot be registered 
under GRCP, because websites are typically updated on a continual 
basis, the updates are not distributed as discrete, self-contained 
issues, and they do not contain numerical or chronological designations 
that distinguish one update from the next. As such, websites are not 
considered ``periodicals'' for purposes of registration.\10\
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    \6\ 81 FR 86634 (Dec. 1, 2016).
    \7\ Id. at 86635.
    \8\ See 37 CFR 202.4(b)(3).
    \9\ See 81 FR at 86638-39.
    \10\ See id. at 86639.
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    In responding to the proposed rule for GRCP, the National Writers 
Union (NWU), the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), 
the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA), and 
the Horror Writers Association (HWA) (collectively ``Petitioners'') 
jointly submitted a petition for a rulemaking to create a new

[[Page 65613]]

group registration option to accommodate works distributed online by 
individual writers, that would not qualify as contributions to 
periodicals.\11\
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    \11\ See NWU et al. Comments and Petition for Rulemaking at 4 
(Jan. 30, 2017) (the ``Petition''), https://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer?documentId=COLC-2016-0013-0003&attachmentNumber=1&contentType=pdf.
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    According to the petition, individual writers distribute more of 
their work ``in electronic format on the World Wide Web than in any 
other format or through any other distribution channel.'' \12\ Writers 
routinely create ``granular'' content that is distributed on websites, 
blogs, social media platforms, and other internet publications.\13\ 
They also create and distribute online other ``short-form works,'' such 
as poems, short stories, ``flash'' fiction, short-form ebooks, essays, 
articles, pamphlets, tracts, and research reports.\14\
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    \12\ Petition at 10.
    \13\ See id. at 4, 9.
    \14\ See id. at 11.
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    Petitioners stated that registration is ``effectively unavailable'' 
for writers who create ``granular or frequently updated works [that 
are] distributed electronically, including virtually all Web and social 
media content.'' \15\ They stated that websites, blogs, and social 
media platforms are typically updated on a daily basis. To register the 
works that are distributed on these sites, a writer would need to 
complete and submit a separate application every day, which would be 
``prohibitively costly and time-consuming.'' \16\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ Id. at 4.
    \16\ See id. at 4, 10.
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    To address these issues, the Petitioners asked the Office to create 
a new group registration procedure for ``short-form works'' which would 
allow individual writers to submit one ``application and fee every 
three months.'' \17\ The Authors Guild, the Association of Garden 
Communicators (GWA), the Society of Children's Book Authors and 
Illustrators (SCBWI), the Songwriters Guild of America (SGA), and the 
Textbook & Academic Authors Association endorsed this petition.\18\ 
They stated that writers ``urgently need a group registration [option] 
for short pieces, especially those disseminated online,'' including 
``blogs, public Facebook posts . . ., short articles, and even 
copyrightable tweets.'' \19\
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    \17\ Id. at 13-14. The Petition echoed a similar request which 
was submitted in a previous rulemaking by the NWU, ASJA, and the 
Western Writers of America. See NWU et al. Comment on Mandatory 
Deposit of Electronic Books and Sound Recordings Available Only 
Online at 3-4, 8-10, 17-19 (Aug. 18, 2016), https://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer?documentId=COLC-2016-0005-0009&attachmentNumber=1&contentType=pdf.
    \18\ Authors Guild et al. Comment at 8-9 (Nov. 17, 2017), 
https://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer?documentId=COLC-2017-0009-0108&attachmentNumber=1&contentType=pdf.
    \19\ See id. On November 13, 2017 the Petitioners renewed their 
request and reiterated that it ``remains prohibitively costly and 
time-consuming to register . . . most written work distributed 
online.'' NWU et al. Comment and Renewed Petition for Rulemaking at 
4-6 (Nov. 13, 2017), https://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer?documentId=COLC-2017-0009-0072&attachmentNumber=1&contentType=pdf.
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    In response, when closing the rulemaking for the GRCP registration 
option, the Office stated that it would consider the Petitioners' 
requests and ``take them into account when developing its priorities 
for future upgrades to the electronic registration system.'' \20\ On 
May 8, 2018 the Office met with representatives from NWU, SFWA, ASJA, 
and the Authors Guild to discuss the Petition. Following discussions 
with the Authors Guild, the Office presently understands that the 
Petitioners would support a rule that provides for the registration of 
up to 50 literary works per quarter and up to 100 works per year. The 
Office understands Petitioners' position is that the rule should apply 
to articles, short stories, essays, opinion pieces, columns, blog 
entries, cartoons, Facebook posts, or other literary works that contain 
at least 50 words and no more than 40,000 words, that are published as 
part of a website or online platform, but exclusive of advertising 
copy, computer programs, and emails.
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    \20\ 82 FR 29410, 29412 (June 29, 2017).
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III. The Proposed Rule

    After considering the petition for rulemaking, the Office finds 
there is a legitimate need for a new group registration option for 
``short online literary works,'' to be known as ``GRTX.'' Under the 
proposed rule, an applicant will be able to register up to 50 literary 
works with one application and one filing fee. Each work must contain 
at least 100 words but no more than 17,500 words. The works must be 
created by the same individual and that individual must be named as the 
copyright claimant for each work. The works must be published on a 
website or online platform within a three-calendar-month period. Each 
of these requirements is discussed below.

A. Eligibility Requirements

    Due to the number of works available in this group registration 
option, along with the complexity of reviewing copyrightability of 
short-form works, the Office will strictly apply all of the eligibility 
requirements. To facilitate compliance with the requirements, the 
Office will provide a checklist in the instructions from the Office, 
such as in a circular, Compendium update, or web page. Applicants must 
be certain to adhere to the requirements
1. Works That May Be Included in the Group
    A ``literary work'' is defined by statute as a work ``expressed in 
words, numbers, or other verbal or numerical symbols or indicia, 
regardless of the nature of the material objects . . . in which [it is] 
embodied.'' \21\ The Office's regulations provide representative 
examples of works that typically fit within this category, such as 
fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and other types of textual works.\22\
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    \21\ 17 U.S.C. 101.
    \22\ See 37 CFR 202.3(b)(1)(i).
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    To qualify for this group registration option, a work must contain 
sufficient words. A work comprised mainly of numbers, or other verbal 
or numerical symbols or indicia, will not qualify under this option. 
The Office will accept deposit copies that contain text combined with 
another form of authorship. But claims in any accompanying ``artwork,'' 
``photograph,'' or any form of authorship other than ``text'' will not 
be permitted on the application. Examining and cataloging a work that 
contains multiple forms of authorship requires a significant amount of 
time and effort. Given the number of works that may be included in each 
claim, the Office needs to limit the administrative burden that this 
option will impose on the Literary Division. Therefore, if an applicant 
asserts a claim in ``text'' and another form of authorship, the 
examiner may remove the unacceptable authorship statement(s) from the 
application and add an annotation describing the change, or the 
examiner may simply refuse registration for the group.
    For purposes of registration a ``short'' online literary work will 
be defined as a work that contains at least 100 words and no more than 
17,500 words. The proposed rule provides representative examples of 
works that typically fit within this range, such as poems, short 
stories, articles, essays, columns, blog entries, and social media 
posts. The 100-word threshold is intended to exclude short phrases and 
slogans, because they are not eligible for copyright protection, and 
other short forms of expression that contain less than a paragraph of 
text.\23\ While in some cases these types of works may have enough 
creativity to warrant registration, in other cases they may contain 
only a de minimis amount of

[[Page 65614]]

expression. Examining an extremely short work requires careful review 
and each determination must be made on a case by case basis. It is not 
feasible to conduct this level of analysis when dozens of works are 
included within the same claim.
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    \23\ 37 CFR 202.1(a).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The 17,500-word limit is intended to exclude novels, novellas, or 
other lengthy works. In drawing the line between ``short'' and ``long'' 
literary works, the Office considered the word counts specified by the 
prestigious Hugo, Nebula, and Shirley Jackson awards.\24\ The sponsors 
of these awards classify a ``short story'' as a work that contains less 
than 7,500 words and a ``novelette'' as a work that contains between 
7,500 and 17,500 words. The sponsors define a ``novella'' as a work 
that contains between 17,500 and 40,000 words,\25\ and a ``novel'' as a 
work that contains more than 40,000 words.\26\
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    \24\ See Hugo Award Categories, The Hugo Awards, http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-categories/; Nebula Rules, Nebula Awards: 
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (Nov. 15, 2018), 
https://nebulas.sfwa.org/about-the-nebulas/nebula-rules/; Award 
Rules, The Shirley Jackson Awards, https://www.shirleyjacksonawards.org/rules.
    \25\ Works of this length include Charles Dickens's A Christmas 
Carol, Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, and John 
Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. See, e.g., Word Counts and Other 
Distractions, Griffin Paul Jackson (July 25, 2013), https://griffinpauljackson.com/2013/07/25/book-word-counts/; Lawrence J. 
Epstein, Word Counts in Novels, The Best American Poetry: Blog (Mar. 
20, 2016), https://blog.bestamericanpoetry.com/the_best_american_poetry/2016/03/word-counts-in-novels-by-lawrence-j-epstein.html.
    \26\ Works of this length include Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, 
F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and Kurt Vonnegut's 
Slaughterhouse-Five. Id.
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    The Petitioners stated that writers are unable to register 
granular, frequently updated works that are distributed on websites and 
social media platforms on a daily basis.\27\ But they did not provide a 
compelling reason for creating a similar group registration option for 
novels, novellas, or other lengthy works of authorship. Such works are 
more likely to require significant time to create and do not lend 
themselves to a rapid and continuous publication schedule. Indeed, it 
seems unlikely that even a prolific author would be able to write, 
edit, and publish 50 ``long-form'' works within a three-month period.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \27\ See Petition at 4.
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    If a particular work appears to be less than 100 words, the 
examiner may perform a word count, and if it falls below the 100-word 
threshold, the examiner may refuse registration for the group. 
Similarly, the examiner will refuse registration for the group if any 
work is found to exceed the 17,500-word limit.
    A work will be considered an ``online'' literary work if it was 
first published on the internet. This requirement may be satisfied, for 
example, if copies of the work were first distributed to the public as 
part of a website or online platform.\28\ Likewise, a work may be 
eligible for this option if copies were simultaneously published both 
on the internet and in a physical form. By contrast, a work would not 
be eligible for GRTX if copies have been distributed solely in a 
physical form, or if copies were first published in a physical form and 
then subsequently published online.
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    \28\ Because each work must be published ``as part'' of a 
website or online platform, the website or platform itself would not 
be eligible for this option. The Office intends to address website 
registrations in a separate Federal Register notice. See 83 FR 
52336, 52337 (Oct. 17, 2018). Similarly, the Office intends to 
address publication with respect to the internet, for purposes of 
registration, in a separate proceeding.
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2. Number of Works That May Be Included in the Group
    Under the proposed rule, an applicant will be allowed to include up 
to 50 literary works in each submission. The examiner will review each 
individual work for copyrightable authorship, and if the claim is 
approved, the registration will cover each work on a separate basis. If 
an applicant submits more than 50 works, the examiner may accept the 
first 50 works listed in the application or the examiner may refuse 
registration for the group.
    As discussed below, applicants will be required to submit their 
claims through the existing registration system. The Office does not 
currently have the ability to charge differential prices based on the 
number of works in the group or the complexity of the claim. Given the 
technical limitations of the current system and the modest filing fee 
for this option, the Office must impose some limit on the total number 
of works that may be included in each claim, to manage the 
administrative burden that this option will impose on the Literary 
Division. After consulting with the Petitioners, the Office has 
determined that a limit of 50 works represents an appropriate balance 
between the interests of the writers and the administrative 
capabilities of the Office.\29\ While each application is limited to 50 
works, there is no limit as to how many applications can be submitted.
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    \29\ The Office will not accept claims involving a compilation, 
collective work, or database, because they often contain multiple 
works of authorship. Likewise, this option may not be used to 
register podcasts or audiobooks, because they contain two works 
(namely, a sound recording and the literary work embodied in that 
recording). These types of works also take more time to examine than 
traditional literary works, because each recording must be opened, 
buffered, and played to determine if it is eligible for 
registration.
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3. Title Information
    The applicant will be required to provide a title for each work in 
the group, and a title for the group as a whole. The group title will 
be used to identify the registration in the online public record. The 
Office will accept any title that reasonably identifies the group. For 
example, the applicant may provide a title that describes the general 
subject matter of the works, such as ``Poems, essays, and other 
reflections on Czech culture and cuisine,'' or a title that includes 
the author's name, type of works, and publication dates, such as ``Drew 
McAlister's Facebook Posts May through July 2018.'' In all cases, the 
applicant will be required to append the term ``GRTX'' to the beginning 
of the group title, so that the Office can identify the claim and 
assign it to an appropriate member of the Literary Division.
4. Author and Claimant
    Under the proposed rule, all of the works must be created by the 
same individual. Applicants will not be allowed to submit groups of 
works created by different authors (such as 25 essays by Carlos 
Martinez and 25 poems by Rena Martinez). Likewise, the Office will not 
accept applications claiming that two or more authors jointly created 
one or more of the works in the group. We would like to hear from 
commenters as to whether they anticipate any issues with this proposed 
limitation.
    The new group registration option is intended to benefit individual 
writers who publish their works on the internet, but do not have the 
time or resources to register their works with the Office. This is less 
of a concern for corporate authors or authors who are hired to create a 
work for another party. Therefore, the proposed rule expressly states 
that works made for hire cannot be registered with GRTX.\30\
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    \30\ In this respect, the proposed rule is similar to the 
statutory and regulatory provisions that govern the group 
registration option for contributions to periodicals. See 17 U.S.C. 
408(c)(3); 37 CFR 202.4(g)(1), (3).
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    The proposed rule states that in all cases, the author must be 
named as the copyright claimant, even if a different party actually 
owns the copyright in each work. If the names provided in the author 
and claimant fields do not match each other, the examiner may remove 
the claimant's name and replace it with the author's name or the 
examiner may simply refuse registration. This will improve the 
efficiency of the

[[Page 65615]]

examination process by allowing the Office to focus on the 
copyrightability of each work. It is also consistent with the basic 
principle that an author may always be named as the copyright claimant, 
even if she does not own any of the exclusive rights when the claim is 
submitted.\31\ See Compendium sec. 619.7 (citing 42 FR 48944, 48945 
(Sept. 26, 1977)). We would like to hear from commenters as to whether 
they anticipate any issues with this proposed limitation.
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    \31\ If the author transferred the copyright to another person 
or entity, the copyright owner may add that information to the 
public record by recording the bill of sale, exclusive license, or 
other document that identifies the current owner of each work.
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5. Publication Information
    As mentioned above, an applicant will be allowed to register a 
group of short literary works if the works were first published as part 
of a website or online platform. The works may be published on the same 
site or different sites, but they must be published within a three-
calendar-month period.\32\
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    \32\ In this respect, the proposed rule is similar to the 
regulations that govern the group registration options for automated 
databases, serials, and secure test items. See 37 CFR 
202.3(b)(5)(i)(F), 202.4(f)(1)(v), 202.13(d)(4).
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    If the works were published on the same date, the applicant should 
provide that date in the application. If the works were published on 
different dates, the applicant should identify the first date that the 
works were published; the Office will assume that the rest of the works 
were published on that date or within three months thereafter. Claims 
with a range of publication dates outside of a three-calendar-month 
period will be refused, and if any works are later determined to be 
published outside of the three-month calendar period the registration 
may be cancelled. See 37 CFR 202.4(l), (m).
    The GRTX group option may only be used to register published works. 
This option cannot be used to register a group of unpublished literary 
works.\33\ Likewise, applicants will not be allowed to combine 
published and unpublished works in the same claim. The Copyright Act 
requires applicants to separately identify published and unpublished 
works for purposes of registration, and this requirement cannot be 
changed without amending the law.\34\
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    \33\ The Office recently announced that it intends to create a 
new group registration option for unpublished works, which will be 
known as ``GRUW.'' The Office also intends to release a new 
application form that will be specifically designed for these types 
of claims. See 82 FR 47415 (Oct. 12, 2017). The Office expects to 
issue a final rule in the GRUW rulemaking before the proposed rule 
on GRTX goes into effect. If an applicant attempts to register a 
group of unpublished works under GRTX, the Office will instruct the 
applicant to resubmit the claim using the designated form for GRUW, 
which will require an additional filing fee and result in a later 
effective date of registration.
    \34\ 17 U.S.C. 409(8).
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B. Application Requirements

    Ordinarily, when the Office creates a new group registration 
option, it develops a corresponding application form to collect the 
information needed for that type of claim.\35\ But the Office is 
beginning to work on the technical requirements for its next-generation 
registration system, and it does not intend to conduct any further 
development on the current system. In the interim, claims submitted 
under a new group registration option for short online literary works 
will need to be adapted to fit within the registration system as it 
currently exists.
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    \35\ See, e.g., 37 CFR 202.4(d)(2), (e)(5), (f)(2), (g)(6), 
(h)(8), (i)(8).
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    Under the proposed rule, applicants will be required to submit 
their claims through the electronic registration system and they will 
be required to use the Standard Application designated for a ``Literary 
Work.'' \36\ Further instructions on how to complete this application 
will be provided by the Office through traditional avenues, including 
its website, circulars, or Chapter 1100 of the Compendium of U.S. 
Copyright Office Practices. Recently the Office amended its regulations 
to require other group registration claims to be filed electronically, 
and the rationales requiring electronic submission of applications 
provided in those rulemakings apply equally here.\37\ Moreover, GRTX 
may only be used to register literary works that have been published as 
part of a website or online platform. It is reasonable to assume that 
individuals who create and publish these types of works will have 
access to the internet and will be capable of using the electronic 
registration system to register their claims.\38\
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    \36\ As the label suggests, this application is designed for 
registering one literary work, rather than a group of related works.
    \37\ See, e.g., 82 FR 29410, 29410-11 (June 29, 2017) (final 
rule for contributions to periodicals explaining policy 
considerations supporting online-only registration); 82 FR 51369, 
51374 (Nov. 6, 2017) (proposed rule for group newspapers); 83 FR 
22896, 22899-900 (May 17, 2018) (proposed rule for group serials); 
83 FR 22902, 22905 (May 17, 2018) (proposed rule for group 
newsletters).
    \38\ Likewise, the online-filing requirement will apply to the 
``supplementary registration'' procedure, which may be used to 
correct or amplify the information in an existing registration. The 
Office has announced that if it moves ``registrations for other 
classes of works into the electronic registration system,'' the 
procedure for correcting or amplifying those registrations would 
``be subject to this same [online filing] requirement.'' 81 FR 
86656, 86658 (Dec. 1, 2016). Thus, if an applicant needs to correct 
or amplify the information in a registration for a group of short 
online literary works, that request will need to be submitted 
through the electronic registration system, instead of using a paper 
form. See 37 CFR 202.6(e)(1).
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    The Office will not accept claims submitted on a paper application. 
If an applicant attempts to use a paper form, the Office will refuse 
registration and instruct the applicant to resubmit the claim on the 
Standard Application, which will require a new filing fee and result in 
a later effective date of registration. But as with the other rules 
mentioned above,\39\ the proposed rule would allow the Office to waive 
this online filing requirement in exceptional cases. If a particular 
author does not have internet access or is unable to use the Standard 
Application, the applicant could request a waiver in writing. The 
Office would review each request and would make appropriate 
accommodations for applicants who receive an approved waiver. To be 
sure, since this group registration option involves works that were 
necessarily published online, the Office expects there to be few, if 
any, exceptional cases necessitating waiver of this requirement.
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    \39\ See, e.g., 37 CFR 202.4(g)(9), (h)(11), (i)(11), 
202.6(e)(7).
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    The applicant must submit a sequentially numbered list containing a 
title/file name for each work in the group. The list must also include 
the publication date and word count for each work. The numbered list 
must be contained in an electronic file in Excel format (.xls), 
Portable Document Format (PDF), or other electronic format approved by 
the Office, and the file name for the list must contain the title of 
the group and the case number assigned to the application by the 
electronic registration system (e.g., ``Title Of Group Case Number 
16283927239.xls'').

C. Deposit Requirements

    Under the proposed rule, applicants will be required to submit one 
complete copy of each work in the group. The copies must be uploaded to 
the electronic registration system in a digital file, each file must be 
submitted in one of the acceptable file formats listed on the Office's 
website, such as PDF, and all of the files must be submitted in the 
same format.\40\ Because this option may only be used to register works 
that have been published online, it is reasonable to assume that 
authors will be able to upload their works to the electronic system. 
Thus, the Office generally will not accept physical

[[Page 65616]]

copies, such as print-outs, or digital copies that have been saved onto 
an electronic storage device, such as a disc or thumb drive.\41\
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    \40\ The list of acceptable formats is available at http://copyright.gov/eco/help-file-types.html.
    \41\ If an applicant is unable to upload a particular work to 
the system, the applicant may request special relief from the 
deposit requirements under 37 CFR 202.20(d)(1)(iii)-(iv). The Office 
will consider these requests on a case-by-case basis. See Compendium 
sec. 1508.8.
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    The copies must be submitted in an orderly manner. A submission 
will be considered ``orderly'' if the applicant uploads each work in a 
separate digital file. The Office will not accept multiple works within 
the same digital file because of the burden on the examiner in 
distinguishing one work from the next. The file name for each work must 
match the corresponding title entered on the application so that the 
examiner can easily verify that the correct works were uploaded. The 
upload should contain no more than 50 files representing 50 complete 
works. If more than 50 files are uploaded, the examiner may refuse 
registration for the group.

D. Filing Fee

    The filing fee for this option will be $55, which is the fee that 
currently applies to any claim submitted on the Standard Application. 
The Office recently issued a proposal to increase this fee from $55 to 
$75.\42\ If that proposal is adopted, the new fee will apply to any 
claim submitted on the Standard Application, including claims involving 
short online literary works. As mentioned above, the Office does not 
have the ability to charge differential prices when multiple works are 
submitted on the Standard Application. However, the Office will 
consider this issue as it begins to develop the technical and legal 
requirements for its next-generation registration system.\43\
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    \42\ 83 FR 25054, 24057 (May 24, 2018).
    \43\ See 83 FR 52336, 52339 (Oct. 17, 2018).
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E. The Scope of a Group Registration

    As mentioned above, the Office will review each work to determine 
if it contains a sufficient amount of original, creative authorship. If 
the legal and formal requirements have been met, the examiner will 
register the claim and will add an annotation to the certificate 
indicating that the works were registered in accordance with the 
eligibility requirements for GRTX.\44\
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    \44\ If the examiner determines that one or more of the works is 
not copyrightable, the examiner will require the applicant to 
exclude that work from the claim. If the applicant disagrees with 
that assessment, the applicant may resubmit that work on an 
individual basis (which will require a new application, deposit, and 
filing fee) and then appeal the subsequent refusal.
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    Under the proposed rule, a group registration will cover each work 
in the group and each work will be considered to be registered as a 
separate work.\45\ Thus, if any of the works are subsequently 
infringed, the copyright owner should be entitled to seek a separate 
award of statutory damages for each individual work.\46\ By contrast, 
the group itself is merely an administrative classification created 
solely for the purpose of registering multiple literary works with one 
application and one filing fee. Therefore, claims in the selection, 
coordination, or arrangement of the group as a whole will not be 
permitted on the application, and the group will not be considered a 
compilation or a collective work for purposes of sections 101, 103(b), 
or 504(c)(1) of the Copyright Act.
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    \45\ See 37 CFR 202.4(n).
    \46\ See 17 U.S.C. 504(c)(1) (authorizing a separate award of 
statutory damages ``with respect to any one work'').
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IV. Conclusion

    The proposed rule will encourage broader participation in the 
registration system by establishing a new group registration option for 
individual writers who publish their works on the internet. The Office 
invites public comments on this proposal.
* * * * *

List of Subjects in 37 CFR Part 202

    Copyright.

Proposed Regulation

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Copyright Office 
proposes amending 37 CFR part 202 as follows:

PART 202--PREREGISTRATION AND REGISTRATION OF CLAIMS TO COPYRIGHT

0
1. The authority citation for part 202 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 17 U.S.C. 408(f), 702.

0
2. Amend Sec.  202.4 as follows:
0
a. Add paragraph (j).
0
b. In paragraph (n) remove ``paragraph (g), (h), (i), or (k)'' and add 
in their place ``paragraphs (g) through (k)''.
    The addition reads as follows:


Sec.  202.4  Group Registration.

* * * * *
    (j) Group registration of short online literary works. Pursuant to 
the authority granted by 17 U.S.C. 408(c)(2), the Register of 
Copyrights has determined that a group of literary works may be 
registered in Class TX with one application, the required deposit, and 
the filing fee required by Sec.  201.3(c) if the following conditions 
are met:
    (1) The group may include up to 50 short online literary works. For 
purposes of this section, a short online literary work is a work 
consisting of text that contains at least 100 words and no more than 
17,500 words, such as a poem, short story, article, essay, column, blog 
entry, or social media post. The work must be published as part of a 
website or online platform, including online newspapers, social media 
websites, and social networking platforms. The group may not include 
computer programs, audiobooks, podcasts, or emails. Claims in any form 
of authorship other than ``text'' or claims in the selection, 
coordination, or arrangement of the group as a whole will not be 
permitted on the application.
    (2) All of the works must be published within a three-calendar-
month period, and the application must identify the earliest date that 
the works were published.
    (3) All the works must be created by the same individual and that 
individual must be named as the copyright claimant for each work in the 
group.
    (4) The works must not be works made for hire and must not be works 
of joint authorship.
    (5) The applicant must provide a title for each work and a title 
for the group as a whole, and must append the term ``GRTX'' to the 
beginning of the group title.
    (6) The applicant must complete and submit the Standard Application 
designated for a ``Literary Work.'' The application may be submitted by 
any of the parties listed in Sec.  202.3(c)(1).
    (7) The applicant must submit one complete copy of each work. The 
works must be assembled in an orderly form with each work in a separate 
digital file, they all must be submitted in one of the electronic 
formats approved by the Office, and they must be uploaded to the 
electronic registration system in no more than 50 files and 
representing no more than 50 complete works. The file name for each 
work must match the title as submitted on the application. The file 
size for each uploaded file must not exceed 500 megabytes; the files 
may be compressed to comply with this requirement.
    (8) The applicant must submit a sequentially numbered list 
containing a title/file name for each work in the group. The list must 
also include the publication date and word count for each work. The 
numbered list must be contained in an electronic file in Excel format 
(.xls), Portable Document Format (PDF), or other electronic format 
approved by the Office, and the file name for the list must contain the 
title of the group and the case number assigned to the application by 
the electronic registration system (e.g.,

[[Page 65617]]

``Title Of Group Case Number 16283927239.xls'').
    (9) In an exceptional case, the Copyright Office may waive the 
online filing requirement set forth in paragraph (j)(6) of this section 
or may grant special relief from the deposit requirement under Sec.  
202.20(d), subject to such conditions as the Associate Register of 
Copyrights and Director of the Office of Registration Policy and 
Practice may impose on the applicant.
* * * * *

    Dated: December 17, 2018.
Regan A. Smith,
General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights.
[FR Doc. 2018-27543 Filed 12-20-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 1410-30-P