The U.S. Copyright Office Compendium is intended for use primarily by Copyright Office staff members, but may also be used as a guide by creators, licensees, applicants, lawyers, academics, the public, and occasionally, by the courts. In contrast to the Copyright Act or Copyright Office regulations, the Compendium doesn’t contain the force of law. However, sometimes a court may defer to the Copyright Office Compendium on an issue that is not specifically addressed by the Copyright Act or Copyright Office regulations.
The Compendium, which can be found below and here (from IP Illustrated), is now in its third edition.
Chapter 100 U.S. Copyright Office and the Copyright Law: General Background
Chapter 300 Copyrightable Authorship: What Can Be Registered
Chapter 400 Who May File an Application
Chapter 500 Identifying the Work(s) Covered by a Registration
- This Chapter provides guidance on how to identify the work that the applicant intends to register with the U.S. Copyright Office. It explains how to identify the copyrightable authorship that can be submitted for registration and how to describe the claim to copyright in that authorship, particularly if the work contains multiple forms of authorship, if it was created by multiple authors, if the authorship is owned by multiple copyright owners, or if the applicant intents to register only a portion of the authorship that appears int eh work. In addition, this Chapter assists copyright owners, courts, and the general public in understanding the scope of a registered copyright claim.
Chapter 900 Visual Art Works
Chapter 1000 Websites and Website Content
Chapter 1500 Deposits
Chapter 1600 Preregistration
- This Chapter provides information on the U.S. Copyright Office’s practices and procedures for preregistration. Preregistration provides certain copyright owners with the ability to sue for infringement while they are preparing their works for commercial release. The vast majority of works are not eligible for this procedure.
Chapter 1700 Administrative Appeals
Chapter 2000 Foreign Works: Eligibility and GATT Registration
- This Chapter explains when authors of foreign works may apply to register their works with the U.S. Copyright Office. This Chapter applies to unpublished works, regardless of when they were created, and to published works that were first published on or after January 1, 1978. This Chapter also discusses Form GATT, which may be used to register a restored work that is eligible for copyright protection under the Uruguay Round Agreements Act.