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Special Deposit Requirements (for certain kinds of works)

As part of the copyright registration process, special deposit requirements exist for many types of works. The following are prominent examples of exceptions to the general deposit requirements:

  • If the work is a motion picture, the deposit requirement is one complete copy of the unpublished or published motion picture and a separate written description of its contents, such as a continuity, press book, or synopsis.

  • If the work is a literary, dramatic, or musical work published only in a phonorecord, the deposit requirement is one complete phonorecord.

  • If the work is an unpublished or published computer program, the deposit requirement is one visually perceptible copy in source code of the first 25 and last 25 pages of the program. For a program of fewer than 50 pages, the deposit is a copy of the entire program. For more information on computer program registration, including deposits for revised programs and provisions for trade secrets, request Circular 61, "Copyright Registration for Computer Programs."

  • If the work is in a CD-ROM format, the deposit requirement is one complete copy of the material, that is, the CD-ROM, the operating software, and any manual(s) accompanying it. If registration is sought for the computer program on the CD-ROM, the deposit should also include a printout of the first 25 and last 25 pages of source code for the program.

In the case of works reproduced in three-dimensional copies, identifying material such as photographs or drawings is ordinarily required. Other examples of special deposit requirements (but by no means an exhaustive list) include many works of the visual arts such as greeting cards, toys, fabrics, oversized materials (request Circular 40a, "Deposit Requirements for Registration of Claims to Copyright in Visual Arts Material"); video games and other machine-readable audiovisual works (request Circular 61); automated databases (request Circular 65, "Copyright Registration for Automated Databases"); and contributions to collective works. For information about deposit requirements for group registration of serials, request Circular 62, "Copyright Registration for Serials."

If you are unsure of the deposit requirement for your work, write or call the Copyright Office and describe the work you wish to register.

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